South Africa v Australia, 3rd T20, Cape Town March 8, 2016

Phangiso cleared but won't play final T20


Match facts

Wednesday, March 9, 2016
Start time 1800 local (1600GMT)

Play 01:47
'My goal to have a century in each format' - De Kock

Big picture

For the second time this summer, a limited-overs series enters the final match with the sides locked all-square. This one will cap off a blockbuster season of international cricket that has captured the imagination of the country's cricket-lovers. Australia's visit follows England's and while some might think hosting two of the big three in the same season may serve to remind South Africa if their status in the small seven, in shorter formats it has done quite the opposite.

South Africa built confidence with five successive wins over England and kept on that roll in the first match against Australia. Now, as CSA posted on their Twitter account, "it all comes down to 1."

Victory for South Africa in the final T20 will give them a boost ahead of the World T20. Defeat will have the reverse effect and highlight the few lingering issues, especially around the middle-order and how JP Duminy and Farhaan Behardien fit in. A delicate issue was resolved for them, at least in the short-term, when Aaron Phangiso's action was clear on the eve of the game but it has been decided that he will sit out this T20 and spend further time fine-tuning his action ahead of the World T20.

Whereas South Africa's has steadily built with recent results - notwithstanding the defeat in Johannesburg - Australia are still trying to formulate their T20 gameplan having had precious few games in the format over the last two years. The success of David Warner in the middle order suggests they are finding one solution - alongside Glenn Maxwell it backs for a dynamic pairing - but they will want a more all-round performance before they head to India.

Form guide

(last five completed games most recent first)
South AfricaLWWWW
Australia WLLLL

In the spotlight

South Africa's highest T20 run-scorer JP Duminy is under pressure to prove his worth despite his numbers because of his recent, unremarkable form. Duminy has not scored an international fifty since October last year - 20 innings ago - and has miscued to midwicket twice in this series. Despite strong support from the coach, Russell Domingo, the pressure is growing on Duminy to deliver especially as his bowling is playing far less of a role.

In a similar position is Shane Watson who was not tasked with bowling during the second match in an Australian attack with plenty of options. Watson's job is to push one of Usman Khawaja or Aaron Finch out of the XI by getting Australia off to a quick start. Watson has only just recovered from an abdominal injury which ruled him out of the PSL but he was in fine touch before that, with the second highest score in T20I history, and will want to get back into that form ahead of the World T20.

Team news

South Africa have opted not to draft in Phangiso for a game ahead of the World T20 after his action was clearedm but they may tweak the top order to give Hashim Amla a game. Dale Steyn could continue to keep Kyle Abbott out unless Kagiso Rabada is rested.

South Africa: (probable) 1 Hashim Amla, 2 AB de Villiers (wk), 3 Faf du Plessis (capt), 4 JP Duminy, 5 David Miller, 6 Farhaan Behardien, 7 Chris Morris, 8 David Wiese, 9 Kagiso Rabada, 10 Dale Steyn, 11 Imran Tahir

Australia found a winning combination in the last match which vindicated their decision to keep David Warner out of the opening berth. Having already tried the Usman Khawaya/Aaron Finch and Shane Watson/Aaron Finch combination the only one left for them to try is Khawaja/Watson, which could see Finch sit out. Nathan Coulter-Nile could find his way back into the XI and Adam Zampa may be preferred over Ashton Agar in the spin department.

Australia: (probable) 1 Shane Watson, 2 Aaron Finch, 3 David Warner, 4 Steve Smith, 5 Glenn Maxwell, 6 Mitchell Marsh, 7 James Faulkner, 8 Peter Nevill (wk), 9 Josh Hazlewood, 10 John Hastings/Nathan Coulter-Nile 11, Adam Zampa

Pitch and conditions

After the thin air on the Highveld, the teams return to the coast where, as was the case during the England series last month, scores are expected to be lower. The Newlands pitch will be more subcontinental in nature and may even take some turn will which aid in preparation for the World T20. The weather, though, will be entirely different. It is expected to be mild and breezy with evening temperatures touching 20 degrees.

Stats and Trivia

  • Faf du Plessis needs nine more runs to become the third South African after JP Duminy and AB de Villiers to reach 1,000 T20I runs.

  • Australia have won the last two T20 series against South Africa, which has included the only three-match rubber between the two sides. Then, in November 2014, South Africa went one up but squandered the lead.


"There is a bit of importance. But if we were playing the series in India it would be more important; the fact that it's here in SA means the wickets are different. We know series wins against Australia don't come easily. But there's a bigger picture. When we get to India and we play against them in different conditions there, we'll see what happens."
Quinton de Kock knows the challenge will be different at the World T20

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Muhammad Khan on March 9, 2016, 15:03 GMT

    T20 world cup is just entertainment not achievement real WC is 50 overs WC

  •   Marc Aditya Rajesh on March 9, 2016, 14:48 GMT

    Warner should open with Finch while Watson is No.3. No need for Zampa, they should back their pace bowling cause its their strength. Coulter-Nile and Hastings should be in the XI: My Australia XI(the best team they could get in their squad[stats prove it]): 1) Warner 2) Finch 3) Watson 4) Smith(c) 5) Maxwell 6) Marsh 7) Faulkner 8) Coulter-Nile 9) Hastings 10) Nevill(wk) 11) Hazlewood

  • Jay on March 9, 2016, 14:39 GMT

    If Behardein is playing. I hope they lose. I cant stand the guy. Still not sure why he is in the team.

  • Muhammadyusuf on March 9, 2016, 14:08 GMT

    @Dhirshan gobind Amla has gone unsold for only2015 and 2016 and from 2008 to 2014 he hasn't participated in any IPL auction

  •   Marc Aditya Rajesh on March 9, 2016, 14:07 GMT

    Why Behardien and Morris? Behardien is a terrible hitter down the order and there is no need to prevent Abbot's entry cause of Morris's batting skills cause there is enough batsmen in the line up. My South Africa XI(the best there could be in this squad[stats prove it]): 1) de Kock(wk) 2) Amla 3) du Plessis 4) Duminy 5) de Villiers 6) Miller 7) Wiese 8) Abbott 9) Tahir 10) Rabada 11) Steyn

  •   Lenny Archary on March 9, 2016, 14:00 GMT

    it Should not be Amla vs De Kock.It is AB that is causing the problems not wanting to bat at 4.Amla should open with De Kock end of story.

  •   John Comyn on March 9, 2016, 13:37 GMT

    A lot of noise has been made about AB batting to far down the order. They have moved him to the top & there is more noise. IMO is no 4 is where he should bat but give him another shot opening. He loves Newlands & he is due a good knock. If he fails so what. After all the objective of this series, for both sides, is to try a few things before the WC

  • Dhirshan Gobind on March 9, 2016, 13:27 GMT

    What is with everyone wanting Amla in instead of T20 expert de Kock. Did you not see how Quinton almost destroyed Aus on Sunday. Amla is not even a T20 specialist and has gone unsold in every IPL auction since 2008, with good reason.

  • John on March 9, 2016, 13:08 GMT

    @Oracle yes sir, Australia has no T20 world cups but they do have 5 real WC's and if I am not mistaken England, New Zealand and South Africa have 0 between them in real WC's. And those 3 sides are all good cricket teams over the years.

  • Prahit on March 9, 2016, 12:45 GMT

    smudge hasn't really played to his ability. He will score big today, and crush Proteas. Should be a nice practice before the World Cup

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