Australia and South Africa reignite their intense World Cup rivalry, one of cricket's most storied. Fans recall classic encounters, most notably the 1999 Edgbaston semi-final. While history evokes excitement, their recent frequent clashes, including six ODIs in just over a month, suggest they've become more familiar foes. Against this backdrop, Australia aims to overturn a troubling slide, and a formidable South Africa seeks to sustain its irresistible form.
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Match Preview: Australia vs South Africa ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 10th Match
ICC World Cup • 12 Oct, 2023 • 4,490 Views • ⭐ 5.0
Written by Anand Swami
The Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow will host this encounter. The venue has come under scrutiny, especially following the 2023 IPL where its surface was dubbed the worst of the tournament. Historically, the pitch has produced low-scoring games, setting an intriguing context for this clash.
The controversies surrounding Lucknow’s surface aren't limited to the IPL; the curator was sacked after a low-scoring T20I between India and New Zealand earlier in the year, highlighting the pitch’s unreliability. Both teams must adapt swiftly to this unpredictable surface to secure an advantage.
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Form Guide - Australia
Australia's recent form has raised concerns. They've suffered six defeats in their last seven ODIs. Even with the return of key players, they faltered in the World Cup opener against India. Their middle order, despite featuring big names, has struggled, leading to collapses like the one in Chennai. Notably, Australia's recent setbacks are not solely due to lacklustre performances from the batters; their bowlers have also faced challenges.
In a match in Potchefstroom, they failed to defend a large total, with Keshav Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi playing pivotal roles in their defeat. This inconsistency in both batting and bowling has raised eyebrows, especially given Australia's historically dominant cricketing legacy.
Form Guide - South Africa
The Proteas, conversely, have been in scintillating form. They've amassed substantial totals, recently scoring 428 against Sri Lanka. With batters such as Quinton de Kock, Rassie van der Dussen, and Aiden Markram in prime form, they appear to have the momentum.
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Their batting success isn't confined to the Sri Lanka game; against Australia, they posted scores of 338, 416, and 315, underscoring their prowess. This consistency in their batting lineup presents a challenge for any bowling side facing them and will be a psychological factor in the forthcoming match.
Players to Watch
For Australia, all eyes are on Alex Carey. Following a standout 2019 World Cup, he now needs to find form, particularly given the significance of his middle-order role. While Carey's inconsistencies with the bat have raised concerns, his strike rate of 85.73 over the past four years indicates a need for him to accelerate his scoring.
Conversely, for South Africa, Marco Jansen, despite occasional costly spells, remains vital, especially with his unique left-arm angle which could trouble the Australian openers. Jansen's effectiveness on fast pitches in South Africa might be offset by slower tracks in India, testing his adaptability. Both players are pivotal for their team's fortunes in this World Cup.
Australia might contemplate introducing Marcus Stoinis in place of Cameron Green. No further changes are anticipated unless there are fitness issues. The inclusion of Marcus Stoinis adds depth to the Australian lineup, providing both batting prowess and an extra bowling option. For South Africa, the prospect of introducing Shamsi is strategic, particularly given Australia's recent struggles against spin and considering the success of India's spinners against them.
South Africa has a tactical decision: to maintain their winning combination or introduce an additional spinner, Tabraiz Shamsi, given Australia's vulnerability to spin. Tactical choices like these could play a crucial role in the match's outcome.
Pitch and Weather Report
The Lucknow pitch has proven unpredictable. Traditionally low-scoring, Australian captain Pat Cummins anticipates "pace and bounce" this time. In light of recent performances, teams might opt for a balanced approach in team selection, ensuring they're prepared for any pitch behaviour. Cummins' expectation suggests the Australians might rely heavily on their fast bowlers.
However, teams should also account for the dew factor, which could significantly influence outcomes, especially for the side bowling second. The weather is expected to be clear, with temperatures between 27° C and 35° C. Dew could play a part in the latter stages, adding another layer to game strategy.
Australia (probable XI): Pat Cummins (capt), Glenn Maxwell, Marnus Labuschagne, Alex Carey (wk), Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, David Warner, Steven Smith, Marcus Stoinis/Cameron Green, Mitchell Marsh, Josh Hazlewood.
South Africa (probable XI): David Miller, Quinton de Kock (wk), Aiden Markram, Kagiso Rabada, Marco Jansen, Lungi Ngidi, Gerald Coetzee/Tabraiz Shamsi, Temba Bavuma (capt), Rassie van der Dussen, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj.
South Africa faces no fitness concerns, only strategic ones. They must choose between retaining the squad that dominated Sri Lanka or introducing spinner Tabraiz Shamsi due to Australia's susceptibility to spin. Should Shamsi feature, Gerald Coetzee might be omitted.
The match will be broadcast on the Star Sports Network and Disney+ Hotstar in India. South African fans can tune into SuperSport, whilst those in Australia can catch the action on Fox Sport and Kayo. The match kicks off at 2 PM IST.
Given both teams' form and historical confrontations, the scene is set for another landmark clash. Australia's ambition to recover from their recent setbacks will be tested by South Africa's blistering form, accentuated by their batters' latest achievements.
As the teams vie for supremacy, the cricketing fraternity anticipates eagerly, hoping this contest becomes another unforgettable episode in their enduring World Cup narrative.
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