About the Match
After claiming the Test series 2-1, Australia is looking forward to the first of the T20 series against hosts South Africa at Port Elizabeth on Mar 9th. The 3-match contest will see both sides in full swing and turn up the heat ahead of the World Twenty20 challenge later this month; this will be a good platform for the newcomers to prove themselves and gear up for the tough series. While South Africa will field a fairly young team against the visitors with some of the senior players retiring and some sitting out due to injuries, the Australian squad has been formed with the World Series in mind and a majority of the players have a good amount of experience to gut it out. The upcoming match will be fought hard and both sides will try to get the first advantage here.
AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis, Hashim Amla and JP Duminy will play important roles here as the team faces a wave of change with players like Smith and Kallis retiring from the game; youngsters Quinton de Kock, Kyle Abbott, Hendricks, David Miller and Wayne Parnell will have to step up and provide a solid support to the established players. Dale Steyn, who has been in top form, will miss the first two matches due to injury sustained in the Tests and Abbott will replace the speedster here. Parnell and Hendricks are also recovering from injuries and will need to clear the fitness test to feature in the first match. Morne Morkel, Tsotsobe, Phangiso and the experienced Imran Tahir will provide the bowling attack. The players had a busy schedule last year with all the domestic competitions and international matches but they have prepared well for the T20 series and will definitely look forward to putting the Test defeat behind them and rise up to the challenge here.
George Bailey has time and again proved his capabilities in leading the T20 squad to successful wins in the shorter format of the game; with players like James Faulkner, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Moises Henriques and Mitchell Starc, Brad Haddin, David Warner and Cameron White, who have done well in the recent past against teams like England and India, the team looks confident to start their campaign on a winning note. Mitchell Johnson has been rested but veterans like Brad Hogg and Brad Hodge will join the team in the run up to the World T20 series in Bangladesh; while Hodge is the highest run scorer in this format of the game, Hogg has been in tremendous form playing for Scorchers, who went on to win the BBL title this year. James Muirhead, who displayed his talent in the domestic circuit, has been included in the squad. The team is upbeat after their Test series victory and they have the psychological advantage here to upset the Proteas in their own backyard.
Australia has been performing well consistently over the last few months and this is a good phase for them; South Africa are better placed in T20 rankings and they too had a successful run in recent series. Both sides are well matched and will try to have an upper hand right from the start; while the contest will go down to the wire, the visitors look confident to emerge victorious here.
Australia, 1.74 @ Bovada