South Africa v Australia, 1st T20, Port Elizabeth

Rejigged sides gear up for World T20

The Preview by Brydon Coverdale

March 8, 2014

Comments: 57 | Text size: A | A

Match facts

March 9, Port Elizabeth
Start time 1430 local (1230GMT)

Brad Hodge opened the bowling in his comeback match, Australia v England, 2nd T20, Melbourne, January 31, 2014
Brad Hodge, the highest scorer in T20s, is finally getting another chance for his country © Getty Images

Big Picture

The dust has hardly settled on the gripping finish to the Test series, but already both South Africa and Australia have switched to Twenty20 mode. Most of Australia's Test cricketers are gone, with only three members of the victorious squad required for these three matches, while South Africa's T20 outfit features much greater crossover. And while the Test series was no doubt the major event of this tour, the T20s take on extra significance given the proximity to the World T20 in Bangladesh. Neither South Africa nor Australia have ever won the World T20 and when this series finishes, the first match of the world tournament for each side will be less than ten days away.

Australia have strong recent form behind them after beating England 3-0, but it is hard to tell how greatly that result was affected by England's general malaise by the end of their Ashes tour. The Australian selectors have trusted form and experience over youth, recalling veterans Brad Hogg and Brad Hodge, although they have also tossed green legspinner James Muirhead in at the deep end. South Africa have not played a T20 since November and they have in their squad uncapped fast bowler Beuran Hendricks and the allrounder Albie Morkel, who last played for his country at the 2012 World T20 in Sri Lanka. Both teams might just have some tinkering to do in these three games.

Form guide

(last five completed games, most recent first)
South Africa LWWWL
Australia WWWLL

In the spotlight

South Africa hope David Miller will be one of the emerging stars of the World T20 in Bangladesh. At 24 he has already played 19 T20s for his country but is yet to really show his best at T20 international level. A brutal striker of the ball, Miller has experience in domestic T20 leagues in four countries and the Australians cannot afford to underestimate him in this series.

Brad Hogg will become the oldest man ever to play a T20 international if he features in this series. At 43, Hogg will break the record set by Steve Tikolo of Kenya, who was 42 when he last turned out for his country in November last year. Hogg was a surprise recall for the previous World T20 in Sri Lanka and has not played for Australia since then, but his canny spin for the Perth Scorchers made him a tempting choice for the selectors with another World T20 in Asian conditions. Hogg remains athletic in the field and as enthusiastic as ever, and his wrong'un remains tough to pick.

Team news

Dale Steyn will miss at least the first two matches due to the hamstring strain he suffered in the third Test and Kyle Abbott has been called into the squad as cover. Wayne Parnell and Beuran Hendricks have passed fitness tests and are available for selection.

South Africa squad: Faf du Plessis (capt), Kyle Abbott, Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock (wk), AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Beuran Hendricks, Imran Tahir, David Miller, Albie Morkel, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Aaron Phangiso, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.

Mitchell Johnson was part of the squad and will join the rest of the group for the World T20 but has been sent home to rest after the Test series. Australia's most recent T20s, against England, were played without key men David Warner and Shane Watson, so their return will force some reworking of the batting line-up.

Australia squad: George Bailey (capt), Daniel Christian, Nathan Coulter-Nile, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Brad Haddin (wk), Moises Henriques, Brad Hodge, Brad Hogg, Glenn Maxwell, James Muirhead, Mitchell Starc, David Warner, Shane Watson, Cameron White.

Pitch and conditions

Port Elizabeth provided the slowest surface of the three Tests and the same may be true of the T20s. In the last T20 international held at the venue, South Africa batted first and scored 179 for 6, which New Zealand failed to chase down. There is the chance of light rain on Sunday and the top temperature is forecast to be 19C.

Stats and trivia

  • South Africa start this series ranked third and Australia sixth but such is the volatile nature of the T20 rankings that Australia could jump South Africa if they win the series 3-0

  • Australia's squad includes only three players who took part in the Tests - Watson, Warner and Brad Haddin. South Africa's T20 squad has nine.

  • Australia's squad boasts the highest scorer in all of Twenty20 history - Brad Hodge has made 5902 runs at 36.88 for a total of 14 teams, and he is finally getting another chance for his country


"We'll be trying to get some game time into our World Cup squad, so we'll chop and change a bit here and there."
Darren Lehmann, the Australia coach

"We have won nine out of our last 12 T20 matches in the last year. I'm happy with the progress we have made."
South Africa coach Russell Domingo is happy with his team's recent form.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

RSS Feeds: Brydon Coverdale

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by android_user on (March 9, 2014, 13:46 GMT)

rain seams to have stopped. this is going to be a cracking match. two good teams going head to head. looking at all the teams this WC is going to be a unforgetable one. warner will be bowled within first two overs. what a bad sportsman he is

Posted by espncricinfomobile on (March 9, 2014, 13:28 GMT)

what's the rain situation

Posted by android_user on (March 9, 2014, 13:26 GMT)

here we go again. ausies with their big heads. remember below you is earth.beginning of last year the ausies was nothing even with MJ init. aus wont win the WC T20.

Posted by android_user on (March 9, 2014, 12:57 GMT)

god please stop the rain.....-:'(

Posted by   on (March 9, 2014, 12:52 GMT)

hi guys, here's my SA squad: amla, de kock, de velliers, miller, du plessis*, duminy, berhadien, morkel A, parnell, hendricks, tahir

Posted by android_user on (March 9, 2014, 12:40 GMT)

aus can clinch world t20 but india is always a better team in asia ..and t20 world cup will be held in asia:-)

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (March 9, 2014, 12:33 GMT)

T-slog is such a come-down after test cricket..yawn

Posted by StarveTheLizard on (March 9, 2014, 10:48 GMT)

I wonder how the pitch will play now MJ has left. Will it be slow like the test one? Perhaps the unusual conditions that caused that pitch to be slow have passed and SA can pepare a normal one again!

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (March 9, 2014, 9:41 GMT)

Let's be serious here, neither team are taking this particularly seriously. This is just warm up for the World T20.

Posted by johnq1 on (March 9, 2014, 8:41 GMT)

Both the teams are really great. Austrailian batting line-up looks really good. But we know SA got top class players too AB,david Miller these guys can win games singlehandedly.... Hope to Hodge in the playing 11 for AUS even though it may seem unlikely...

Posted by android_user on (March 9, 2014, 8:24 GMT)

Australia might miss johnson's experience

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (March 9, 2014, 8:21 GMT)

Miller needs to open the batting, blast those medium pacers into outer space.

Posted by   on (March 9, 2014, 8:11 GMT)

Murihead needs to be groomed for Test Cricket, but at the same time 20/20 may be good for his mind too, if he comprehends the differences needed at Test Level... he can be an attacking leg spinner in both forms of the game just like Warne and McGill were... good luck to him and worth persevering with if the rest of the team are pulling their weight and work with him... :)

Posted by plymuth12 on (March 9, 2014, 8:02 GMT)

wheres ben dunk. surely hes better than haddin

Posted by android_user on (March 9, 2014, 7:52 GMT)

My aussies xi is warner,finch,.watto,white,belly,maxwell,haddin,faulkner,starc,hogg. Really this team must clinch world t20

Posted by disco_bob on (March 9, 2014, 7:51 GMT)

T20 is more about confidence than any other form of cricket, it's maybe *only* about confidence. Certainly momentum does not really figure except insofar as it comes off the back of a confident series of wins. While Test cricket has very little to do with the shortest format, the recent momentum defying (with regards to PE), spectre of Adelaide banishing, larger than life (Clarke, Warner, Harris) triumph at Cape Town, will have a huge bearing on this T20 series and probably the World Cup too. Australia to clean sweep.

Posted by android_user on (March 9, 2014, 7:39 GMT)

This,aussies team can clinch world t20. Perfectly balanced.

Posted by android_user on (March 9, 2014, 7:37 GMT)

It will a treat to watch the clash between two giants,proteans haven't played much T20s in past few months,but still they are the favorites to me.On the other hand ausssies have enough of practise in Big bash,

Posted by reddawn1975 on (March 9, 2014, 7:01 GMT)

Where are the Marsh brothers???

Posted by android_user on (March 9, 2014, 6:22 GMT)

Where's Clint McKay?

Posted by TheBigBoodha on (March 9, 2014, 6:09 GMT)

SL-rockz, SL did well to beat AUS last year, but they were close games and SL had the advantage of basically keeping the same team that had just played 5 ODI games, whereas AUS changed most of the team. As for the R20 rankings - nice for bragging but mostly meaningless. We all know why.

Posted by social_monster09 on (March 9, 2014, 5:41 GMT)

@jonesy2 & @zCooler. I agree with Both of you mates. Australia are clearly favourite side in this series & will in upcoming WC T-20. Look Warner, Finch, White, Watson, Bailey, Faulkner, Hodge all are in 1 team. What result you should imagine? Really Very strong team to handle & all are in form right now.

Posted by espncricinfomobile on (March 9, 2014, 5:38 GMT)

Aussie will surely win this series and T20 World Cup too . Can't allow them to play In same team Warner Finch White Watto Bailey Maxwell Wk batsmen Faulkner Hoggie Johnson Maybe starc if he is the squad

Posted by TomPow on (March 9, 2014, 5:15 GMT)

Aussies have a pretty good lineup -Warner -Finch -White -Watson -Bailey -Maxwell -Haddin -Faulkner -CoulterNile -Starc -Hogg/Muirhead

That is a VERY good batting team Warner, Finch, White, Watson, Bailey, Maxwell, Haddin and Faulkner can all blast it. Not to mention Starc can bat well and CoulterNile and Hogg are no easy wickets either. The bowling is great too, If Starc can swing the ball, we all know what happened to the WIndies. Hogg is very consistent and takes important wickets, CoulterNile has been in pretty good form, and Faulkner is.... Faulkner. Noot to mention part time bowlers in Watson, Maxwell and White. The only unknown in that team is Muirhead. He LOOKS good but its too early to tell.

Posted by jonesy2 on (March 9, 2014, 4:24 GMT)

south Africa aren't exactly spoilt for choice are they? Australia on the other hand could pick about 6 teams and they would still all be the best in the world. warner, Watson, finch, Maxwell, white all in the same batting lineup surely that's illegal?

Posted by SL_rockz on (March 9, 2014, 3:14 GMT)

Australia lost against Sri lanka in Australia last year :).. I want to see them face again each other in t20WC... SL ,IND,PAK are fav to win it ..U can clearly see why when you look at rankings... :) Hope for a thrilling WC in BD and wish good luck for both teams...May the good team win :)

Posted by Copernicus on (March 9, 2014, 3:02 GMT)

Please please please please not Muirhead....haven't we ruined enough promising spinners already?

Posted by   on (March 9, 2014, 2:15 GMT)

maxwell and faulkner have shown their ability for t20 in recent matches but i have got surprise why the sa selection board hasnot picked david weise

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (March 9, 2014, 1:49 GMT)

No Hodge, No Australia. His RR fan from India. Halla bol halla bol.......

Posted by zCooler on (March 9, 2014, 1:43 GMT)

Imagine Warner + Finch + White + Watson are all on form in the same match ... what is the record for highest score in T20?

Posted by   on (March 9, 2014, 1:00 GMT)

Except for Muirhead, all the other members of the Aus team have played in IPL. Their suitability for the national T-20, was not at all hurt by IPL. If at all, it only provided re-affirmation. (To those who dislike IPL, with reason, or more importantly without much of any significant reason)

Posted by AshesErnie on (March 8, 2014, 22:05 GMT)

A travesty of the modern cricket world that the schedule makes room for this rubbish when cricket lovers (as opposed to TV moguls and easily bought administrators) were crying out for a five match Test series between SA and Aus. Glen Maxwell might do this or that - who really cares, or remembers?

Posted by proteasfire on (March 8, 2014, 21:37 GMT)

Australians will be high on morale after the test series win. Its going to be tough for South Africa. Its time for someone like Miller who has been so consistent and destructive in domestic tournaments to step up to international level and perform for the country. SA's chances depend much on the power hitting of AB, Miller and Albie. With strong T20 team Australia look settled for this series and also the T20 world cup in Bangladesh. SA need to play aggressive brand of cricket to stay alive in short format.

Posted by dunger.bob on (March 8, 2014, 20:53 GMT)

I'm worried about Hogg. Surely his match fee's will have a serious effect on his age pension!

Posted by Big-Dog on (March 8, 2014, 20:27 GMT)

Hodge looked past it when he played against England recently. Australia should have gone with some new blood like Dunk who can also keep.

Posted by Chris_P on (March 8, 2014, 19:43 GMT)

Not too bad of a side, although, I like the guy a lot, I can't see the point of Haddin's selection given he hasn't been in the BBL & is obvioulsy marked for tests. I also can't see why Ben Dunk wasn't selected given his red hot form in the BBL, player of the series. most runs & with a 146 SR, I was under the impression form in these competitions were supposed to be a guidline? I saw him one game & he is electric! Hogg's selection was deserved, in this case age has no relevence, he is as fit if not fitter than any person half his age & was one of the leading bowlers. These are only warm-ups anyway, good luck to both teams.

Posted by android_user on (March 8, 2014, 19:27 GMT)

Hogg spin no one plays in africa

Posted by steve48 on (March 8, 2014, 19:10 GMT)

Looking forward to seeing Muirhead bowl. Lyon is a good bowler but if Aussies can unearth a genuine spinner to compliment their pace resources, they will be a real force

Posted by FRpunk on (March 8, 2014, 18:42 GMT)

Australia has the Best Batting Line up for this Years World Cup . Although if the Pitches Turn only then their batting Line would be Challenged

Posted by wapuser on (March 8, 2014, 16:13 GMT)

There's too much competition in the Aus lineup .Hodge or maxwell might sit out.Maxwell can bowl so maybe he will be preferred .It's sad .Even Hogg might miss out to muirhead .I seriously want the Chinaman to play though. I would've loved if someone else could keep part time like a Bailey or a Finch.Then they would not need haddin

Posted by android_user on (March 8, 2014, 16:05 GMT)

AUS:finch,white,warner,bailey watson,hodge,haddin maxwell,faulkner,muirhead,starc

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (March 8, 2014, 15:55 GMT)

The only player I like in this Aussie team is Hodge. He's a champion ! If Australia manage to do well in this World T20, it will be down to Hodge's experience and brilliance.

Posted by mohanram82 on (March 8, 2014, 15:34 GMT)

my best XI's for SA as by order 1. decock 2. amla 3. duplessis 4. AB 5. duminy 6. miller 7. behardain 8.albie 9.parnell 10. tsotsobe 11. morne

Posted by   on (March 8, 2014, 15:32 GMT)

So happy for Brad Hodge. One of the most hard working ( nd one of the most neglected) T-20 specialist! Good luck, Brad.

Posted by mohanram82 on (March 8, 2014, 15:24 GMT)

my best XI'S for aussies as by order , 1. warner, 2. finch , 3. white , 4. watson ,5. bailey 6. maxwell 7. hodge , 8 . haddin 9. faulkner 10. starc 11. coulter- nile.. ( provided if maxwell @ hodge are considered as bowler)

Posted by   on (March 8, 2014, 13:29 GMT)

There are far too many passengers in Aussie squad Christian, coulter nile, Hodge and Henriques.Lynn is much better batsman and Cutting is far better than coulter nile.David Weise has to be the most unluckiest SA cricketer too not to be in the squad

Posted by Meety on (March 8, 2014, 13:08 GMT)

Fingers crossed for Starc!!!!

Posted by android_user on (March 8, 2014, 12:31 GMT)

maddinson for henriques

Posted by siddhartha87 on (March 8, 2014, 11:59 GMT)

will be interesting to see the combination of Australia. They got four dangerous openers in White,Warner,Watson and Finch.These four will be followed by Maxwell and Bailey. I am sensing carnage

Posted by TheBigBoodha on (March 8, 2014, 11:48 GMT)

Wow. That's a damn powerful lineup there for Australia. Still it's T 20. Anybody's game.

Posted by line.and.length on (March 8, 2014, 11:44 GMT)

Dan Christian should not be there at all.... @ 11kg, like your team..... normal service being restored... I wonder if saffas will try to draw these games, and take pride in "not losing a series" .... What a joke, go Aussies

Posted by Snambidi on (March 8, 2014, 11:39 GMT)

Australia it looks is the best balanced team in this ICCWORLD T20 world cup to be held in to them is the strong SA. THOUGH BOTH THE LEADING TEAMS HAVE NOT WON A T20 WC, this time it is going to be a close look for them to claim the title. The most special feature is the peculiar way of accommodating 15 teams from all over the world as an experiment ,perhaps,to promote cricket. This is really a very praiseworthy move from the organizers & ICC. Cricket unlike other games like Soccer,Tennis & Basket ball ,does not get proper exposure it deserves.This time ICC has done a big job in highlighting the game. As regards India& Pakistan they are usual is the Champion's SL also. The players from Asia to watch Are Lasith Malinga,Yuvraj Singh,Mohemed Shamy& Amit Misra besides Sangakkara,Misbah,Dhoni& Shakib Hassan. Chances of Srilanka to retain the trophy looks almost Nil with Players like Miller,Johnson,dekock & De Kock & de Villiare would make it better thanIPLindeed.

Posted by Jagger on (March 8, 2014, 11:19 GMT)

Big Picture part 2: History shows us it is almost impossible for a touring team to win first up after a month off. South Africa on the other hand have picked 9 Test players who must make the transition from Test to T20 within a few days. Their skills have been honed to the minute by Johnson, Harris, Warner and Co., but no doubt they will be feeling jaded from the big loss to the Aussies.

Both sides will have an eye firmly on Bangladesh and further changes to personnel are assured. These three matches will matter little in the scheme of things, with just one sure result an indeterminable quantity of Indians will tell us how good they are yet never show us, and rubbish either country whether we win or lose.

Posted by   on (March 8, 2014, 10:47 GMT)

Both teams are more or less equally competative.... But I reckon Aussies have that bit of firepower in them.. Aussies: Finch, Warner, Watson, Maxwell, Bailey , Hodge, Haddin, Faulkner, Starc, Coulter-NIle, HOgg

Posted by looloogun on (March 8, 2014, 10:23 GMT)

chris lynn for hendriques or dan christian clint mckay for coulter nile !!!!

Posted by   on (March 8, 2014, 10:07 GMT)

Unfortunately these games are being used as warm-ups for the T20 World Cup - nothing more!!! And SA smarting after losing the Test Series will be "all guns blazing", but still I'll watch it on telly.......... Carn the Aussies!!!!!!

Posted by 11kgm on (March 8, 2014, 10:00 GMT)

Warner, Finch, White, Watson, Bailey, Maxwell/Hodge, Haddin, Faulkner, Starc, Nile, Murihead/Hogg

Henriques and Christian to warm the pine like the look of that team alot

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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South Africa v Australia at Centurion - Mar 14, 2014
Australia won by 6 wickets (with 30 balls remaining)
South Africa v Australia at Durban - Mar 12, 2014
Australia won by 5 wickets (with 2 balls remaining)
South Africa v Australia at Port Elizabeth - Mar 9, 2014
Match abandoned without a ball bowled
South Africa v Australia at Cape Town - Mar 1-5, 2014
Australia won by 245 runs
South Africa v Australia at Port Elizabeth - Feb 20-23, 2014
South Africa won by 231 runs
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