The last group stage match in the 2019 Cricket World Cup will see five-time champions Australia clash with perennial chokers, South Africa.
Australia have already qualified for the semifinals and will be looking to test their bench strength, while South Africa will be aiming to get a morale-boosting win.
With India playing Sri Lanka in the first of two matches tomorrow, Australia would need to beat the Proteas in the probable event of the Lankans losing.
The Aussies start as firm favourites in tomorrow’s encounter at Old Trafford in Manchester. But it should be interesting to see if the pressure to win badly would get to Aaron Finch’s side tomorrow.
Australia (Probable XI): David Warner, Aaron Finch (C), Steven Smith, Usman Khawaja, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey (WK), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Lyon.
South Africa (Probable XI): Quinton de Kock (WK), Hashim Amla, Aiden Markram, Faf du Plessis (C), Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada, Beuran Hendricks, Imran Tahir.
David Warner vs Imran Tahir
David Warner has truly set England ablaze and has been vital for Australia so far in the World Cup, post his return to international cricket.
Warner has 4859 runs under his belt from 114 matches. He has an average of 44.99 and an excellent strike rate of 95.39 in ODI cricket.
The South African spinner Imran Tahir has been instrumental for his team so far in this World Cup. The right-arm leggie is a wily customer and is a proven wicket-taker.
From 106 matches, the 40-year old veteran has managed to prise out 172 wickets at a very good average of 24.64.
His economy rate is an exceptional 4.63 even though he is a wrist spinner. Tahir is also the highest wicket-taker in World Cup history for South Africa.
Fireworks are bound to go off in this battle, as this clash might occur when the match is interestingly poised and hence, the stakes are very high.
However, Warner has been in red hot form so far, and has taken the tournament by storm by plundering 516 runs.
Tahir might find it a bit tough against the swash-buckling Aussie opener who starts off by treading ever so cautiously. Hence we believe that Warner would manage to avert Tahir’s spinning threat.
Mitchell Starc vs Quinton de Kock
Mitchell Starc has been wreaking havoc in this tournament and has been instrumental in Australia’s success. Aaron Finch would be relying on the New South Welshman pacer’s ability again.
With 169 wickets and an economy of 4.97, the left-arm quick averages a measly 20.61 in ODI cricket. With these figures, Starc will definitely be a key factor for his team in this tournament.
Quinton de Kock has been one of the best finds in the South African cricket team. The Proteas wicketkeeper has 4855 runs from 114 matches, at 44.95 with an excellent strike rate of 95.14.
The ICC Number 4-ranked ODI batsman will be key if South Africa are to post a good total as the starts he gives often push the Proteas to shift gears and become aggressive.
de Kock has been a lone warrior in the team’s cause and hence this battle between himself and Starc has the potential of being the blockbuster kind. We feel that Starc would have a definite edge though.
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Considering the fact that the Aussies have already qualified for the last four and might not be risking potential injuries to their main players, they might not be fielding their strongest eleven.
The Proteas, however, would not be lacking in motivation in tomorrow’s match as the chance to end the tournament on a high would be dear to Faf du Plessis’ side.
Team Cricwizz predicts that Australia would comfortably prevail over South Africa tomorrow.
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