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|Faf du Plessis||125||114||15||2||109.65|
|Quinton de Kock||4||7||0||0||57.14|
The short and sharp ODI series between Australia and South Africa was brought to life thanks to Australia’s victory in the last match. Now we have a decider to look forward to. A huge amount of pressure would have been relieved from Australia’s shoulders now that its longest ODI losing streak is over.
Australia’s performance with the bat was far from its best but the bowlers were able to exert a healthy amount of pressure and get the result. South Africa would have been disappointed at losing the last match. Its bowling attack did well once again and kept the home team to a below-par total.
A batting failure, which had been threatening to happen, meant that South Africa has to win the last match to claim the series for itself.
A final of sorts is always fun to watch and there is everything to play for both teams.
Australia was put into bat by South Africa and did not start too well. Travis Head played a couple of beautiful shots, missed a straight delivery, and then wasted a review. Surely the slack that the team has offered him is about to run out soon, especially with Darcy Short waiting in the wings.
Aaron Finch played a good inning before getting out against the run of play. It was encouraging to see Finch set himself up with a bit more caution and try to play the big inning. In this current lineup, Finch’s role has probably changed a little from the out and out dasher and he seems to be recognizing that.
Shaun Marsh looked good before wafting at one outside the off stump. A score of 22 is not going to be enough to ease the pressure on him either.
Chris Lynn and Alex Carey were very impressive in the middle order. Both the players have immense power at their disposal and can move the game along. Lynn was just warming up when he fell hooking a delivery at 44.
If Lynn can pick his bowlers to attack and just temper himself at other times then he could be a huge factor in ODI cricket in the time to follow.
Australia also has Maxwell and Stoinis to follow, both of whom are excellent batsmen in their own right. What we saw in the last match was the Australian batsmen making mistakes at inopportune times and get out to some poor shot selection.
There is not much that a batsman can do if he receives a good delivery but very few Australian batsmen can actually hide behind that excuse. The side will be in a better frame of mind going into the last game now that most of the top-order got a hit but the fact that no one got a fifty would trouble the team management.
ODI cricket is about centuries and that is what is lacking in this Australian side at the moment.
Australia took the bold decision of dropping Nathan Coulter-Nile in place of Adam Zampa and even though the leg-spinner did not have a good game, it was the right move to make. The real damage was done by Starc, Hazelwood, and Stoinis.
Cummins took just one wicket but bowled his ten overs for 27 runs. He was the best bowler of the night in our opinion.
The same eleven is likely to take the field in the third match. We are expected a run feast in Hobart and some of Australia’s gun batsmen look primed to make a return to scoring big runs.
Aaron Finch, TM Head, Shaun Marsh, Chris Lynn, Alex Carey, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, JR Hazlewood.
There was never any doubt about the quality of South Africa’s ODI attack and the bowlers have proved themselves in both the matches so far. Faced with more resistance and application from the Australian batsmen, the South Africans did not let their discipline waiver.
They kept on picking wickets at regular intervals and pegging Australia back. There was never a time when it seemed that the Australians were running out of control and that is something the South African bowlers can be proud of.
South Africa also made one change from the last match, possibly in an effort to find the right balance building towards the ICC World Cup 2019, and that was to bring in Pretorius in place of Phehlukwayo. The move did not cause any drop in the bowing strength because Pretorius also took three wickets as Phehlukwayo had in the first game. Pretorious, though, was unable to contribute with the bat at a crucial time.
Steyn was brilliant, Rabada was quick and in the wickets, while Imran Tahir was frugal. Nigidi went for some runs, though, and was a little predictable towards the end.
It will be interesting to see who South Africa picks for the final match between Andile Phehlukwayo and Dwayne Pretorius.
South Africa’s batting problems in ODI cricket are not new and have been around for quite some time now. They are missing Amla and Duminy for this series which makes things tougher for them but two poor displays are going to have the team management very worried.
Quinton de Kock got out early and needs to rediscover his touch because he is absolutely crucial to South Africa’s chances. De Kock is a run-scoring machine that seems to be struggling for consistency. The Australians are going to attack him with the short ball and that is something he should be ready for.
Aiden Markram looked in glorious touch before being run-out while Faf du Plessis was very good during his stay of 47. David Miller scored 51 to keep South Africa in the hunt but eventually ran out of support.
These three batsmen are the ones that we believe have to play well for South Africa to win.
There is enough talent and quality in the South African side to allow them to bounce back strongly from their defeat.
Quinton de Kock, Reeza Hendricks, Aiden Markram, Faf du Plessis, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Dwaine Pretorius, DW Steyn, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Imran Tahir.
The team winning the toss is likely to field first
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A clear day with an increasing amount of humidity towards the evening has been forecast for match day. We think we should have an uninterrupted game of cricket. We also expect to see the best batting surface in the entire series so far and scores in excess of 300.
The ground is relatively small with some short square dimensions. The pitch has nice carry for the fast bowlers and the ball will ping off the bat nicely as well.
Australia’s batting is the X-factor in this contest. If two or even one of its big hitters can play a big role then South Africa will be chasing leather for the entire match. Australians are also traditionally very good in crunch games. This South African team is a little different, though. It loves the contest and we believe it will bring its best to the decider. There is not too much to choose between the sides but we believe the visitors have the edge.
Back South Africa to win.
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