The daily tournament preview charges down the wicket with Cricket World Cup tips as Australia aim to clinch top spot with a win over South Africa.
19:30 (AEST), Sat 6th Jul @ Old Trafford, Manchester
History: Played 99: Australia 48 V South Africa 47 (3 Ties, 1 No Result)
Last meeting: November 11, 2018: South Africa d Australia by 40 runs at Blundstone Arena
Final Thoughts: Australia will be determined to bank a win in the last Cricket World Cup round-robin match and confirm top spot. A loss to South Africa could see them slip to second, which would mean a semi-final against in-form hosts England rather than out-of-sorts New Zealand.
Australia’s only loss so far was to India. The defending champs have chalked up five convincing wins since – all after batting first.
They blitzed England (64 runs) and New Zealand (86 runs) last week. After being restricted to 9/243 by the Kiwis (Usman Khawaja top-scoring with 88), Australia romped in thanks to a devastating display by Mitchell Starc (5/26).
Starc (24) has a massive lead in the Cricket World Cup’s top wicket-taker standings. David Warner (516 at 73.71) and Aaron Finch (504 at 63) are third and fourth in the runscoring stakes.
It’s been a miserable campaign for perennial semi-finalists South Africa. They have won just two of their seven games to languish eighth in the standings.
But the Proteas enjoyed their best performance in their last outing against Sri Lanka. Dwaine Pretorius (3/25), Faf du Plessis (96*) and Hashim Amla (80*) were the stars of the nine-wicket drubbing.
South Africa hold recent edge
South Africa have won seven of the last eight one-dayers against Australia: a 5-0 whitewash at home in 2016 and a 2-1 series win Down Under in late-2018.
This is the archrivals’ first Cricket World Cup clash since Australia’s 83-run win over South Africa in 2007. But their ODI rivalry will always be framed by their epic 1999 semi-final, which Australia won in a final-over thriller.
Australia are highly unlikely to get beaten here. The likes of Alex Carey and Khawaja are finding runs to support on-fire openers Finch and Warner. Meanwhile, Starc is in blistering touch in high-performing bowling attack.
After falling for just 16 against NZ, Warner will be hell-bent on heading into the semis on the back of a good score.