The South African summer is all set to kick start with a bang as the five-match One-Day International (ODI) series is scheduled to be played against Australia.The South African summer is all set to kick start with a bang as the five-match One-Day International (ODI) series is scheduled to be played against Australia. With Champions Trophy being just nine months away, it’s an ideal time for South Africa to make amends and gear up for the big league. For Australia, they will be hoping for a concrete start to the South African safari with the first match being played at Centurion. South Africa have suffered a huge blow with their key player AB de Villiers being ruled out of the series due to a mistimed elbow injury and Faf du Plessis taking charge. The onus of scoring bulk of the runs will come down to the senior players like Du Plessis, Hashim Amla and JP Duminy. Well, they do have some impactful players in the form of Quinton de Kock, David Miller and Kyle Abbott and Kagiso Rabada.
The pace battery has been strengthened with the return of their pace bowlers Dale Steyn and has plenty of support by Rabada, Abbott, Wayne Parnell, Dwayne Pretorious and Andile Phehlukwayo. Imran Tahir will be crucial for the hosts as the series is being played in home conditions. They lack options in the batting department and will hope for the young guns to fire. Australia on the other hand, have a dominant batting line up but lack some power in their pace attack as they have rested most of their established pacers. Their batting hails of David Warner, Aaron Finch, Usman Khawaja, Steven Smith, Mitchell Marsh and George Bailey along with Matthew Wade as the wicketkeeper batsman. READ: South Africa vs Australia 1st ODI: Hosts to miss AB de Villiers sorelyThe match is being played between two most consistent sides of the game and is without doubt heavyweights. Let’s take a look at the key battles, which could be witnessed during the enthralling encounter.
Quinton de Kock vs Scott Boland: De Kock has been a massive contributor in terms of runs for the South African side and scored runs on a consistent basis. The attacking left-handed batsman is a delight to watch at the top and he will once again look to get his team off to a flying start. Boland has played handful of ODIs and is yet to establish himself at the big stage. He would look to get an early breakthrough for his side and send De Kock early with the new ball. READ: South Africa vs Australia, 1st ODI: Likely XI for Steven Smith & Co
Hashim Amla vs Chris Tremain: Amla’s craft and ability to score runs on a consistent basis hardly has any match. He has been the dark horse of the Protean side and will once again eye to do the same for his side in the absence of De Villiers. If given a chance, Tremain will be debuting in ODI cricket and Amla would certainly be the best wicket to begin his career with.
Faf du Plessis vs Adam Zampa: With de Villiers being ruled out for most of the season, Du Plessis has will lead the side. He is a valiant cricketer and loves challenges, one can expect him to stand up and lead the side from the front. Du Plessis bats at three and silently builds the platform for the middle-order to capitalise on. Adam Zampa on the other hand has been evolving as a leg-spinner with every match. Though Du Plessis is a good player of spin, Zampa will test his Achilles Heels with some wily leg-spin. The battle between these two will be interesting to watch and Du Plessis early fall will always be an advantage for the Australian side. READ: Why Australia tour of South Africa will be mouth watering!
David Miller vs Mitchell Marsh: The hard-hitting South African southpaw has been out of touch in the recent times. But made it to the side riding on some outstanding performances in the domestic side. Miller has a golden opportunity to make his chances count in the absence of De Villiers as he will bat slightly up the order and can give himself to settle in before unleashing a barrage of fiery strokes. Mitchell Marsh will be given the duty to stop Marsh and the winner of this battle will certainly benefit his side massively.
David Warner vs Dale Steyn: Warner led his side well in Sri Lanka when Steve Smith returned home after the second ODI. Warner’s manic approach at the top and powerful hitting has put the opposition under the pump from the start. Warner could snatch the game away from the opposition in the powerplay of gets going. Dale Steyn has made a successful comeback and looked in good rhythm in the Test series against New Zealand. The menacing right-arm pacer will look to get the ball to swing and scalp Warner early on in the innings.
Aaron Finch vs Kagiso Rabada: Finch’s consistency has been remarkable, he bats with some buoyancy and has scored runs on a regular basis. He is a kind of a player who can play long innings without any fuss. Rabada has established himself as one of the key bowlers of the side and bowls magnificently with the new ball. Finch will look to take on Rabada with the new ball while the lanky right-arm bowler will look to pull curtains on his innings as early as possible.
Steve Smith vs Imran Tahir: Steve Smith‘s adaptability has been outstanding and is reckoned as one of the good players of spin from Australia. Tahir could be deadly on his day and chip wickets with his wily leg-spin. Smith with look to bid as much time as possible and play out Tahir in order to built a platform for the explosive middle-order to capitalise on.
Mitchell Marsh vs Dwayne Pretorious: Pertorious has played just a solitary game so far and will look to make an impact in the five-match series. He has the talent and will look to convert it into performance. Mitchell Marsh bats in the middle-order and looks to score runs at a brisk pace. Pertorious will aim to put brakes on Marsh’s run.
As of now, all eyes are set at Super Sport Park in Centurion as the first ODI commences in few moments.