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Still behind Finch in order of preference - Khawaja

"I enjoy opening the batting in shorter form cricket, so it was good fun and with Davey at the other end going berserk it made life a lot easier" AFP

Usman Khawaja expects to be dropped from Australia's ODI team the moment Aaron Finch is fit after a finger fracture, despite his Man of the Match-winning turn against Ireland in the opening match of the South Africa tour.

Clearly benefiting from conditions more familiar than those witnessed recently in Sri Lanka, Khawaja stroked his way to an unbeaten 82 in the company of David Warner and Steven Smith. While hopeful the innings meant a turnaround from his wretched times in Sri Lanka, Khawaja had no illusions about where he now stood in the limited-overs order of preference.

"You can never count your chickens in cricket or in life, you can't get too far ahead," he said. "I'm only here because Shaun Marsh hurt a finger and Finch was out with a broken finger as well, so I got an opportunity opening the batting. To get out there and be Man of the Match first game of the tour is a really nice feeling.

"Nice to get out there early on, I enjoy opening the batting in shorter form cricket, so it was good fun and with Davey at the other end going berserk it made life a lot easier.

"It was a tough time over there [in Sri Lanka], it's been a tough couple of months. So from an individual point of view it's nice to get out there and score some runs. We played some really good cricket the back half of Sri Lanka, but I still didn't contribute the way I wanted to contribute over there, so I had a tough time there, but glad I could contribute to a win first up here."

The Australians were quickly into a groove against Ireland, and now face a South Africa side shorn of AB de Villiers due to injury. Khawaja said it was useful to pick up the winning habit instantly in South Africa, and acknowledged the hosts would have to be weakened by de Villiers' enforced absence.

"We won and that's the main thing," Khawaja said. "You want to win as much as you can and keep reaffirming that winning feeling. Winning is a habit, it's a cliche but it's true, the more you win, the more natural it becomes. Every game you play we want to win every time, whether it's a dead rubber or a final, because that'll keep us in good stead for really close games.

"I don't know who's going to take over [AB's] role but they've got big shoes to fill, he's one of the best batsmen in the world. Looking at it from that point of view it's never nice to see a player not play, especially someone like AB because he brings a lot of people through the gates and that's what it's all about in the end. But he's a big player for them, so they are weakened, but South Africa have a lot of depth."