Pad up with T20I cricket tips as archrivals South Africa and Australia prepare for a series-deciding third encounter in Cape Town.
03.00 (AEDT), Thu 27th Feb @ Newlands Cricket Ground, Cape Town
History: Played 20: Australia 12 V South Africa 8
Last meeting: February 23, 2020: South Africa d Australia
Final Thoughts: Australia’s T20I series in South Africa heads into a game three decider after the hosts produced a stirring bounce-back in the second clash.
The series opener was the definition of one-sided. Australia racked up 6/196 despite not having a dominant individual batsman.
Steve Smith (45 off 32) and Aaron Finch (42 off 27) were the top scorers, but enough of the middle order contributed to keep the scoreboard ticking over. David Warner (4) was the only Australian dismissed for less than 18.
The hosts were skittled for just 89 in 14.3 overs. Mitch Starc and Pat Cummins did the early damage, before Ashton Agar went ballistic with a hat-trick amid scintillating figures of 5/24. Adam Zampa (2/9) helped mop up the tail.
But South Africa levelled the rubber with a 12-run victory in Port Elizabeth. Captain Quinton de Kock (70 off 47) and Rassie van der Dussen (37 off 26) led them to a solid total of 4/158. Kane Richardson (2/21) was the pick of the Aussie bowlers.
Despite Warner (67* off 56) carrying his bat, Australia came up short. The tourists appeared to be cruising at 1/98 in the 13th over, but Smith’s departure for 29 put the breaks on and they finished 6/146. Lungi Ngidi picked up three wickets.
Support for the skipper
South Africa are sweating on the fitness of Temba Bavuma and Heinrich Klassen. Primarily, though, they need someone other than de Kock to step up as a game-breaker. Australia are expected to field the same XI and will be looking for more from the likes of Matt Wade and Mitch Marsh.
Australia have won eight of the last 12 T20I clashes between the nations. They also won the last series in South Africa 2-1 – back in 2016.
Australia have eased out to $1.52 favourites for the decider. They will be keyed up after their botched run-chase in game two.
Expect Smith to take the initiative. He has been in decent T20 form for the Sydney Sixers and Australia, but not world-beating. Before this series, he had three unbeaten half-centuries in his last five T20I innings.