Pad up with T20I cricket tips for the series opener between old foes South Africa and Australia as David Warner and Steve Smith once again confront the spotlight.
03:00 (AEDT), Sat 22nd Feb @ Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
History: Played 18: Australia 11 V South Africa 7
Last meeting: November 17, 2018: South Africa d Australia by 21 runs at Carrara Stadium
Final Thoughts: Australia return to South Africa for the first time since that fateful March 2018 Test series. The stakes aren’t quite as high in this three-match Twenty20 International campaign – and there’s unlikely to be any sandpaper sightings this time around.
Australia have enjoyed a dominant summer at home. After pummelling Sri Lanka and Pakistan in the T20I format in back-to-back 3-0 series wins, their Test series cleansweeps against Pakistan and New Zealand were equally emphatic.
Their only international foray of 2020 so far was a 2-1 ODI series loss in India.
The Aaron Finch-led squad is headlined by Steve Smith and David Warner, who obviously have a point to prove in the Republic. Big Bash record-breaker Marcus Stoinis was controversially overlooked, but the bulk of the team are coming off strong BBL campaigns.
South Africa are coming off overwhelming fruitless series in all three formats against England on home soil. They crashed 3-1 in the Tests, drew the ODIs 1-all and went down 2-1 in the T20Is.
Quinton de Kock, Temba Bavuma and Heinrich Klaasen were in good touch with the bat against England in the shortest format. Lungi Ngidi took eight wickets across the three games.
Former skipper Faf du Plessis returns to the national side under the captaincy of wicketkeeper and batting spearhead Quinton de Kock. Kagiso Rabada is a vital inclusion alongside veteran paceman Dale Steyn.
Australia have won six of the last T20I clashes between the nations. They also won the last series in South Africa 2-1 – back in 2016. Warner topped the run charts with 130 at 43.33. Du Plessis was just behind with 123 at 41.
But the Proteas won the only T20I since, a 21-run victory on the Gold Coast in late-2018.
Australia are warm $1.58 favourites to take out the series opener. The BBL factor puts them in a great position to make that happen.
Though he didn’t take part in the Big Bash, David Warner was dismissed just once in six T20Is in October-November. He recorded a maiden century and three scores of 48* or more.