Australia v South Africa, World Twenty20, Colombo September 29, 2012

South Africa out to erase poor Australia record


Match facts

September 30, 2012
Start time 1530 local (1000 GMT)

Big Picture

Another classic encounter beckons for this group as the "best of enemies," as they were once called meet. South Africa and Australia history at major tournaments needs only one number to get blood boiling: 1999.

But there are others. In the 2007 World Cup, South Africa lost twice to Australia, once in the group stage and once in the semi-final. Australia have had the better of South Africa in major tournaments since Sydney 1992, when South Africa beat them by nine wickets.

This time, the contest is no more insubstantial. Australia could seal their place in the semi-final with a win and ease their passage to a trophy they have yet to lay claim on. If that happens, South Africa could be looking for the exit signs of yet another major tournament. If it does not, South Africa will live to fight another day, something they have promised to do in pursuit of silverware.

Even without the history, the match-ups are compelling. Both George Bailey and AB de Villiers are in the process of proving themselves as captains, South Africa have an experienced pace attack in Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, Australia a youthful one with Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc leading their charge. Richard Levi was talked about as having the power of David Warner, but lacks the consistency and Jacques Kallis and Brad Hogg are two of the oldest men at the event who will no doubt take bragging rights from whoever makes a more athletic save in the field.

Although the tournament itself has been livened up since the group stage, South Africa and Australia have never disappointed when it comes to thrills. Theirs could be some of the bigger ones of an already big event.

Form guide

(completed matches, most recent first)
South Africa LWWLW
Australia WWWWL

Watch out for

Although Colombo is not a quick bowler's favourite place Pat Cummins may have other reasons to be excited for this encounter. Cummins announced himself as an international cricketer in South Africa last year when he impressed with his speed and sensible strategising and had some of the South African batsmen in fear. Who can forget how he worked over Jacques Kallis and the contest could be resumed in this match.

Once shaky but now solid, JP Duminy has become a go-to man for South Africa and one of their most reliable presences on the field. Duminy's problems against spin are a thing of the past, his level head has helped steady the batting in everything from a Test match in England to the T20 against Pakistan. He also took a crucial wicket and an athletic catch and his all-round presence is an important one for South Africa if they hope to go all the way this time.

Team news

Dale Steyn, who took a blow to the ankle against Pakistan, is likely to be fit after the injury was revealed to only be a bruising. Although South Africa struggled with the bat against Pakistan, AB de Villiers did not forsee any changes to his XI but did say they would "look at a few things." Faf du Plessis may be brought into the top three in place of the misfiring Richard Levi and will also offer an additional spin option, as would Justin Ontong. If Steyn is unable to play, Lonwabo Tsotsobe or Wayne Parnell could take his place.

South Africa (probable): 1 Richard Levi, 2 Hashim Amla, 3 Jacques Kallis, 4 AB de Villiers (capt & wk), 5 JP Duminy, 6 Farhaan Behardien, 7 Albie Morkel 8 Johan Botha 9 Robin Peterson 10 Morne Morkel, 11 Dale Steyn

After outclassing India in all departments on Friday, Australia could go in with the same XI.

Australia (probable): 1 David Warner, 2 Shane Watson, 3 Mike Hussey, 4 Cameron White, 5 George Bailey (capt), 6 Glenn Maxwell, 7 Matthew Wade (wk), 8 Dan Christian, 9 Brad Hogg, 10 Pat Cummins, 11 Mitchell Starc

Pitch and conditions

Colombo's slow turner is not the kind of surface South Africa and Australia usually do battle on. Far from the pace of the WACA or the Wanderers, it will not have much in it for the fast men. Instead the likes of Robin Peterson, Glenn Maxwell, Johan Botha and Brad Hogg will be looking to make names for themselves that Allan Donald and Glenn McGrath made in previous rivalries between the two. Run scoring has proved difficult as well with totals of around 150 considered par. Another hot day is expected, with high humidity and, as always, a chance of rain.

Stats and trivia

  • David Warner is one of only five batsmen to have scored more than 1,000 T20 runs. South Africa's closest to that mark is Graeme Smith, who has 982 runs but is not in the World T20 squad.
  • Albie Morkel is the only bowler to have taken a wicket without conceding a run in a T20 match. He has done it twice, both times against England.


"If we play better cricket, we will go through to the semi-finals and there won't be any choking there, that's for sure."
After South Africa's loss to Pakistan, AB de Villiers shrugged off suggestions of choking and said his men understand the importance of their next two matches

"We have got our fingers crossed that they will play AB de Villiers as low as they possibly can. That will work in our favour."
Shane Watson

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Chad on September 30, 2012, 11:17 GMT

    @ rednwhitearmy. Who you calling a minnow? The only team that's performed like minnows are England!! Towelled up by shocking Indian side who were then destroyed by these so called minnows. Look forward to this same batting lineup tearing you boys apart. At least we can say our team is full of Australians!! Its a well known fact you can't produce decent batsmen so you recruit/pinch other countries batsmen..Give your best player Morgan back to his homeland Ireland and England becomes minnows.. KP is a great batsmen and the main reason England have done anything in recent years and oh that's right not from England!!and Kieswetter.. well leave him there cause he's terrible!! The rest of your so called young guns have done nothing.. Future looks bright for England I mean Ireland or is it South Africa?? Lol

  • Nicholas on September 30, 2012, 10:24 GMT

    @ravirai8616561 (post on September 30 2012, 05:21 AM GMT): It's SA vs AUSTRALIA... Think you've got the wrong thread.

  • Sami on September 30, 2012, 9:45 GMT

    Sanjay Manjrekar saying that SA looked the better team throughout the Pak/SA match is typical of cricket pandits biased towards Pakistan... Pak bowled really well to restrict SA in their innings and were in no way the inferior team in that match.

  • John on September 30, 2012, 9:14 GMT

    @Hardy1 on (September 29 2012, 17:00 PM GMT) I don't think NZ are out yet. Maybe I have this wrong but if NZ beat WI fairly handily I'd even make them favourites above England as Eng have to play SL and can't see them winning that one

  • Dummy4 on September 30, 2012, 8:59 GMT

    Looking forward to this match but won't be getting too optimistic just yet. I am a bit of a cynic when we play Australia in world cups because we've had to many bad outings at crucial times against them. I think the key to winning this match from a Saffa perspective is (a)AB needs to bat well further up the order and keep his head on the field (b) Get Watson and Warner out early in the Aus innings(c) Overall team belief i.e. they can't have the same attitude that alot of us Saffa fans have about playing Aus in WC's :) - but can you blame us?

  • Dummy4 on September 30, 2012, 8:58 GMT

    All the besr proteas.AB should batted at no.3 or 4..........all the best.waitiung for excited game of cricket......

  • Varun on September 30, 2012, 8:39 GMT

    it will be very interesting to see how warner and watson will fare against steyn and morkel. it's the best batting pair vs best bowling pair!

  • day on September 30, 2012, 8:34 GMT

    Last opportunity for SA , prove not to chokers,and,i think they will be.I will give 55 to SA and 45 to AUS.

  • Dummy4 on September 30, 2012, 8:06 GMT

    This is EPIC ... Must win game for SA and Aussie need to win this game to secure their spot in semis ... All the best guys !!! """"" from sl """ ........ and @Vinod the teams are equally good.... dont dream abt it too much ... just wait and see what will hpn ... and keep ur mouth shut..

  • Murtaza on September 30, 2012, 7:49 GMT

    south africa should win it easily.There winning ratio after 2010 worldcup is far better than australia and their bowling and batting is far better than should understand that their performance against paksitan in world t20s is not good but their performance against otehr teams is excellent and their record shows that.It should be an easy game for south africa.

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