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Gold Coast's debut something 'a bit different' for T20I

Australia will play at a new location for their T20I against South Africa on the Gold Coast Getty Images

Big Picture

Why are Australia and South Africa playing a one-off T20 international? On the Gold Coast? Because Cricket Australia are seeking to add this long-trumpeted "growth area" for Australian sport to its list of regular and reliable markets. While numerous other sports - be it AFL, A-League soccer or rugby league - have had assorted misadventures trying to situate clubs in an area known for a large but transient population, CA's approach is driven more by the concept of capitalising on holiday-makers with individual matches rather than setting up an entire team. This fixture is to be followed up by the Big Bash League in December.

"The Gold Coast is an unusual market when you think about it," the head of the BBL, Kim McConnie, said earlier this year. "It's the sixth-largest city in Australia and at that time of the year [in December], it is a very different market; the influx they have of tourism means the landscape changes pretty significantly. A lot of those tourists are from Sydney and Melbourne, so when we looked at it we thought 'let's do something a bit different and bring another team there as well'."

All these largely commercial considerations leave the teams of Aaron Finch and Faf du Plessis pitted against one another for a single contest that appears to be unbalanced by one major factor. While South Africa still have their full bowling attack to call upon, Australia are without Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon due to their concurrent preparation for the Test series against India.

Form guide

Australia LLLWL
South Africa WWLLW

In the spotlight

Having broken all manner of records with his tee-off double century for Western Australia in the domestic limited overs tournament, D'Arcy Short struggled in the UAE against Pakistan, and by the final match found himself demoted to the lower end of the middle order. More familiar climes should see a return to opening alongside Aaron Finch, a position from which Short has the chance to get himself established at the crease and then show the sort of ball-striking skill that had spectators ducking for cover at Hurstville Oval.

A spectator so far on this tour, Tabraiz Shamsi should get the opportunity to probe for Australia's well-known weaknesses against spin in T20. His combustible on-field personality should also make for some intriguing exchanges with an Australian team wary of provocation by opponents given their highly publicised identity crisis and cultural review in the wake of Newlands.

Team news

With Starc, Hazlewood and Cummins in Test match preparation mode, the bowling line-up will change significantly. Ashton Agar and Adam Zampa duel for the spin spot, while Jason Behrendorff competes for a pace spot with AJ Tye, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Billy Stanlake.

Australia (probable) 1 Aaron Finch (capt), 2 D'Arcy Short, 3 Chris Lynn, 4 Ben McDermott, 5 Glenn Maxwell, 6 Alex Carey (wk), 7 Marcus Stoinis, 8 Nathan Coulter-Nile, 9 Adam Zampa, 10 AJ Tye, 11 Billy Stanlake

In the absence of JP Duminy, South Africa have some batting order shuffling to do, which may see David Miller promoted as he was for the ODI series.

South Africa (probable) 1 Quinton de Kock (wk), 2 Reeza Hendricks, 3 Faf du Plessis (capt), 4 David Miller, 5 Heinrich Klassen 6 Aiden Markram, 7 Dwaine Pretorius, 8 Andile Phehlukwayo, 9 Kagiso Rabada, 10 Lungi Ngidi, 11 Tabraiz Shamsi

Pitch and conditions

The Gold Coast Stadium curator Kerry Betihavas has made it clear he is trying to prepare a surface as brimful of runs as possible, eyeing off the possibility of 200-plus scores for the ground's international debut. Possible evening thunderstorms are forecast.

Stats and Trivia

  • Gold Coast Stadium becomes the fifth international venue in Queensland, after the Exhibition Ground and the Gabba in Brisbane, Cazaly's Stadium in Cairns and Tony Ireland Stadium in Townsville

  • Australia have won 11 of 17 T20I meetings with South Africa, including the two most recent matches in 2016

Quotes

"A team win would be nice, that is priority No. 1, but if I can contribute a few runs that would be a bonus. The boys are training hard, working hard in the nets, hitting them well, and in the change rooms all the boys have a smile on their face. We hope we can turn it around, get a couple of results and get some momentum."
Chris Lynn

"Football [has] a situation where it's playing for your clubs and then there's an international tournament. In my opinion that's a good place for T20 cricket to be in, because you shouldn't be trying to compete with the leagues because they are so strong at the moment."
Faf du Plessis gives his views on where T20Is sit