Match facts

Sunday, June 19
Start time 1300 local (1700GMT)

Big Picture

The points table for this series would be best read by Richie Benaud: 2-2, 2-2, 2-2. That is to say, Australia, South Africa and West Indies have each won two and lost two. Not only that, but after the first two legs of the series in Guyana and St Kitts, every team has beaten every other team once and no more. That will change in Barbados on Sunday, when either Australia or South Africa will jump ahead on the points table and give themselves a strong chance of qualifying for the final.

South Africa enter this match buoyant after posting 343 for 4 in their most recent match, a thrashing of West Indies at Warner Park. It was a win centred around Hashim Amla's century, although Imran Tahir ended up Man of the Match for his seven-wicket haul. Australia are coming off a loss to West Indies in St Kitts. During that match the captain Steven Smith tweaked his quadriceps, and he did not train on Thursday or Friday in Barbados. However, the Australians are confident Smith will be available for Sunday's game.

As a side note, remarkably this is the first ODI to be held at Kensington Oval for more than five years. The most recent was played on May 2, 2011, when West Indies beat Pakistan in a rain-affected game. In fact, if you were to look at the results of the five most recent ODIs at Kensington Oval, Australia's World Cup final win over Sri Lanka in 2007 would be part of that list. Only four ODIs have been played in Barbados since that final nine years ago. This is Australia's first one-dayer at the venue since that final with its bad-light fiasco.

Form guide

Australia LWLWL (last five completed games, most recent first)
South Africa WLWLW

In the spotlight

It is only this year that Usman Khawaja has finally been given a decent run at ODI cricket, and his numbers keep growing. A maiden 50 came in New Zealand in February, then 59 against South Africa in St Kitts, then 98 against West Indies at the same venue. Opening in the absence of the injured David Warner, Khawaja has the perfect opportunity to build innings of substance. He just needs to shake off the fielding woes that afflicted him in the previous game, when he dropped two straightforward chances in the first 10 overs.

Imran Tahir not only claimed the best figures by a South African in an ODI on Wednesday, he also became the fastest South African to reach the milestone of 100 ODI wickets. Nobody in world cricket has taken more ODI wickets in the past three years than Tahir's 91 at 24.60, and it is perhaps surprising that he is not ranked higher than No. 5. Given Australia's well-documented struggles against spin, Tahir will fancy his chances of adding a few more victims to his collection in this game.

Team news

Nathan Coulter-Nile will make way for Mitchell Starc, as Australia continue to manage his workload. Glenn Maxwell, too, is set to return after he was picked in the 12-man squad on the eve of the game in place of Travis Head. Maxwell was dropped for Australia's two matches in Basseterre after scores of 0 and 3 at the start of the series. The Australians appear confident that Smith will play but if he were to miss out, George Bailey would likely captain the side.

Australia (possible) 1 Aaron Finch, 2 Usman Khawaja, 3 Steven Smith (capt), 4 George Bailey, 5 Mitchell Marsh, 6 Glenn Maxwell, 7 Matthew Wade (wk), 8 James Faulkner, 9 Mitchell Starc, 10 Adam Zampa, 11 Josh Hazlewood

South Africa's bowling coach, Claude Henderson, floated the idea of playing three spinners in Barbados, but after their comprehensive win in the previous match they may wish to use the same XI.

South Africa (possible) 1 Hashim Amla, 2 Quinton de Kock (wk), 3 Faf du Plessis, 4 AB de Villiers (capt), 5 JP Duminy, 6 Farhaan Behardien, 7 Wayne Parnell, 8 Chris Morris, 9 Kagiso Rabada, 10 Tabraiz Shamsi, 11 Imran Tahir

Pitch and conditions

There was some grass evident on the Kensington Oval pitch in the lead-up to the match, but it is expected to be a good batting surface. The players will also need to adjust to the bigger boundaries after the much smaller Warner Park in St Kitts.

Stats and trivia

  • No team in this tournament has yet won consecutive matches
  • Mitchell Starc needs five wickets to reach 100 in ODIs, and if he does so in his next four games he will be the quickest man in history to the milestone


"I know it's all precautionary and he'll be ready to go for Sunday's clash. I'm sure he's raring to go and to hit a few cricket balls."
Australia fast bowler Mitchell Starc on captain Steven Smith sitting out of two training sessions

"Barbados, I've been told, is a better batting wicket with a bit more bounce. I also believe the boundaries are also a bit bigger. Who knows, do we go in with three spinners, is that an option?"
South Africa bowling coach Claude Henderson

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale