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|Faf du Plessis||100||94||7||2||106.38|
|Rassie van der Dussen||95||97||4||4||97.94|
|Quinton de Kock||52||51||7||0||101.96|
With their backs already stacked against the wall, South Africa face Australia in their final World Cup encounter wherein they both will be looking to win for different reasons. It's been a World Cup to forget for the Proteas, arguably their worst in history, and they'll be desperate to register a win to finish on a high note. Australia, on the other hand, are currently flying high at the top-most position at the ladder and another win here will ascertain them the first position and consequently the first semifinal. The two teams are set to lock horns at Old Trafford, Manchester on 6th July in an evening game. Regardless of the result, there will be emotional moments for cricket fans across the globe with this game being the final international fixture for veteran Protean spinner, Imran Tahir.
Rewind two years and no one would have imagined Australia being in the position they're currently in, in the ongoing tournament. They've played fantastic cricket in all departments of the game and have appeared to be the most balanced and complete team of the competition.
David Warner and Aaron Finch have scored truckloads of runs in the tournament so far which has arguably the main reason for Australia's dominant performance in the competition. They both have looked to stay at the wicket and negotiate the moving ball in the first few overs and then launch an assault after the ball gets a little older.
The likes of Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, and Alex Carey have also chipped in when presented with an opportunity which has given their management plenty of confidence. While their batting has done pretty well throughout the tournament, it's been their bowling which has set up most of the matches for them.
Mitchell Starc has been the leading wicket-taker in the tournament, with 24 wickets to his name until now, and is in the race to earn the player of the tournament title along with Rohit Sharma and Shakib Al Hasan. Pat Cummins and Jason Behrendorff have played the supporting role exceedingly well as they both have been instrumental in drying up runs at one end whenever required.
With eight matches gone in the tournament, it's been only once that Australia have ended up second-best which was against India. Considering the top of the table position is at stake in this encounter, the Aussies are expected to come out all guns blazing, and if they're able to put up a performance similar to what they've done in the tournament thus far, it should be an easy win for them.
David Warner, Aaron Finch, Usman Khawaja, Steven Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Michael Lyon.
With a nine-wicket win in their previous encounter, against Sri Lanka, South Africa regained a tinge of pride and will be looking to continue to build on the momentum. However, considering the form this Aussie lineup is in, the Proteas would have to improve in a lot of areas to deny the current table toppers finishing at the top as well.
It's been a remarkably poor tournament for the Proteas. They've been haunted by stories on and off the field with AB de Villiers' offer to return right before the tournament being the most prominent one. While it's hard to say whether that story has had any impact on the performances of the players, the team has punched way below what they're capable of in the tournament so far.
Even though South Africa's bowling has done reasonably well in the tournament, there have been instances of Rabada looking a little fatigued. Chris Morris and Imran Tahir, on the other hand, have been exceptional with Morris often ending up with an economy on the higher side. The introduction of Dwaine Pretorius in the previous match was an inspirational change for the Proteas, which brought them a much-needed win.
Despite a couple of hiccups, their bowling has performed as per the expectations whereas their batting has failed to fire whenever it needed to be. Barring Faf du Plessis and Rassie van der Dussen, none of their batsmen has looked comfortable at the crease as the Proteas have failed to chase even the more manageable totals. Hashim Amla looked to be back in form with a gritty innings in the previous match and with Quinton de Kock not in a great touch; the onus will be on him to provide Proteas with a flying start.
All in all, South Africa are an evenly balanced side which looks as strong as any on paper. However, in the tournament until their last match, they've failed to replicate their prowess on the field resulting in the string of losses for them. With Hashim Amla back amongst the runs and du Plessis and van der Dussen in fine form, beating Proteas is not going to be a walk in the park even for the high flying Aussies.
Quinton de Kock, Aiden Markram, Faf du Plessis, RVD Dussen, Jean-Paul Duminy, Dwaine Pretorius, Andile Phehlukwayo, Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada, Imran Tahir, Tabraiz Shamsi.
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Along with the final league game, this match will also serve as a potential warm-up for the semifinal for Australia. If they end up winning this match, they'll play the fourth-placed team, which is in all likelihood - New Zealand, on Tuesday at Old Trafford. South Africa are coming off a super win over Sri Lankans and would love to shrug off an embarrassing tournament with a win here. Also, they'd like to gift Imran Tahir a World Cup win for his retirement. Considering the performances of the two sides in the tournament and their balance on paper, the Aussies appear to be a superior team and are, therefore, out pick to emerge on top on Saturday.
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