Colombo’s Premadasa Stadium will come alive on Sunday when Group 2 giants, Australia and South Africa, clash in a crucial Super Eights that could end the Proteas’ campaign were they to lose it.
Australia remain the only unbeaten team of the competition – other than Pakistan — with three wins in as many games played and that should make them favourites against their old rivals. The fact that they have played all their games with an unchanged eleven demonstrates how settled the Aussie squad is. In Watson, Warner and Hussey, they have arguably the most reliable top order batsmen of the tournament. With the likes of White, Bailey, Christian and Maxwell in the middle order. the batting line-up will take some toppling.
The bowlers have served Australia well, with Cummins the pick of them, so far. He rattled the Indians , including the in-form Virat Kohli, with his pace and bounce. Starc and Hogg have given Cummins ample support and the presence of their all-rounders, Watson, Christian and Maxwell, hasn’t hurt the Australian’s cause.
Despite the narrow loss to Pakistan, in their opening game of the group, South Africa cannot be ruled out of the reckoning. They have tremendous balance in batting and bowling alike. Amla, at the top of the order, had a rare failure against the Pakistanis, and will want to prove a point or two in his side’s must-win game on Sunday. Richard Levi is an explosive batsman partnering Amla at the top of the order, and the middle order comprised of Kallis, de Villiers and Duminy looks solid and capable of rebounding from a dire situation as it proved against Pakistan.
While Behardien is yet to find his feet in international cricket, and could lose his place to du Plessis, the likes of Albie Morkel, Peterson and Botha can also bat a bit, and bring all-round comfort to the squad. Steyn and Morne Morkel have unquestioned credentials with the new ball and Duminy’s spell against Pakistan give South Africa additional hope on the turning wicket at the Premadasa. In fact, de Villers might have salvaged the match against Pakistan had he allowed Duminy to complete his quota of overs, instead of bowling just 2 overs in which he gave away all of 5 runs!
Prediction: Australia look like winning this one too.
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Jinxatious is the Chief Editor of SportingAttitude.com
An avid writer, on an eclectic range of subjects, he brings to bear editorial experience garnered with a national newspaper in South-East Asia. He also has sportscasting experience, as a cricket commentator, and his passion for sport extends beyond Cricket, to Football, Tennis, and Olympic Sports.