45th match (D/N), Manchester, July 06, 2019, ICC Cricket World Cup
(49.5/50 ov, T:326) 315

South Africa won by 10 runs

Player Of The Match
100 (94)

Glenn Maxwell doubtful; Australia eye top-of-table finish

This will be only the third World Cup meeting between both sides since that epic Edgbaston game

Big Picture

In another world, this could have been the ultimate match to finish the group stage: 20 years since the Greatest ODI Ever at Edgbaston which put Australia on track for the first of a hat-trick of World Cup titles and consigned South Africa to one of their most agonising near-misses.
Instead, it's largely an irrelevant match, except for potentially deciding where Australia will play their semi-final. Another win for them (or a defeat for India against Sri Lanka) and they'll stay in Manchester to face New Zealand. The opposite set of results and it will be back down the motorway for a rematch with England at Edgbaston. The way Australia overcame both those sides in the recent group matches means they won't worry who they play, but staying in the same city would make life a little easier - plus they'll want to keep the winning momentum going.
For South Africa, it's a final chance to salvage a bit more pride from a poor World Cup after they put in a professional display to beat Sri Lanka. They have a host of issues to confront when they get home to begin the challenge of rebuilding over the next four-year cycle with much of their future resting on the shoulders of Quinton de Kock, Aiden Markram and Kagiso Rabada. We already know this will be the last ODIs for Imran Tahir and JP Duminy. A few more many follow.

Form guide

(last five completed matches)
Australia WWWWW
South Africa WLLWL

In the spotlight

Pat Cummins has chipped in throughout the World Cup without quite being a dominant force. It hasn't mattered, and a record of 12 wickets at 27.25 with an ecomony of 4.66 is very handy, but he has been overshadowed by the left-arm exploits of Mitchell Starc and Jason Behrendorff. However, after a home season where he had to carry the attack perhaps that is no bad thing. It would be no surprise at all if Cummins has a major impact in the closing stages of the tournament and the pace and carry of Old Trafford will suit him.
He will continue his T20I career, but this is the final chance for Imran Tahir to clock up the celebration miles in ODI cricket. With one game to go, his 106 outings have clocked up an impressive 172 wickets at 24.63 (someone should do the maths and work out the ground he has covered with team-mates trying to catch him). A pitch that is known to offer some spin and bounce gives him a chance to sign off in style.

Team news

Australia's batsmen went through a brutal net session on Thursday with two casualties: Shaun Marsh is out of the World Cup with a broken wrist and Glenn Maxwell also went to hospital for a scan. Maxwell didn't sustain any serious damage, but will be assessed before this match. If he is ruled out Peter Handscomb could come straight into the team. The Australia management has previously said they won't rest quicks for the sake of it, so we could see an unchanged attack.
Australia (probable) 1 David Warner, 2 Aaron Finch (capt), 3 Usman Khawaja, 4 Steven Smith, 5 Glenn Maxwell/Peter Handscomb, 6 Marcus Stoinis, 7 Alex Carey (wk), 8 Pat Cummins, 9 Mitchell Starc, 10 Nathan Lyon, 11 Jason Behrendorff
South Africa put in a solid display against Sri Lanka, winning by nine wickets, so may go with the same team. However, a call on Hashim Amla's fitness will be taken in the morning, after the batsman appeared to injure his left knee during a practice session on Friday.
South Africa (probable) 1 Quinton de Kock (wk), 2 Hashim Amla, 3 Aiden Markram, 4 Faf du Plessis (capt), 5 Rassie van der Dussen, 6 JP Duminy, 7 Andile Phehlukwayo, 8 Dwaine Pretorius, 9 Chris Morris, 10 Kagiso Rabada, 11 Imran Tahir

Pitch and conditions

It's usually a very good pitch at Old Trafford with something on offer for everyone, from new-ball bounce to spin and the ability for batsmen to play their shots. The forecast is for a dry day with just the outside chance of a shower

Strategy punt

  • Bowl Pat Cummins to Faf du Plessis: in six innings the pair have faced each other in ODIs, Cummins has dismissed the South Africa captain on four occasions. In 68 balls, du Plessis has scored 46 runs off him.
  • Quinton de Kock could also be in for a tough time because he struggles against left-arm pace (average 38.20 in the first ten overs) and also offspin (average 30 in the first 10 overs) which gives Australia at least three options to target him with. In comparison, against right-arm pace in the opening Powerplay, de Kock averages 60.50.
  • Aaron Finch has had a terrific World Cup and South Africa will want to consider using Tahir against him. Tahir has removed him three times with only Kane Williamson, Shakib Al Hasan and Mahela Jayawardene more regular victims (which just emphasises how good a bowler Tahir has been)
  • Stats and Trivia

    • Mitchell Starc needs three wickets to overtake Glenn McGrath's 2007 haul of 26 wickets as the best for Australia at the World Cup.
    • This is the 100th ODI between Australia and South Africa.
    • This will also just be their third World Cup meeting since that 1999 epic at Edgbaston. Two of those came in 2007.
    • Quotes

      "Once you cross the rope, Australia are my favourite team to play against."
      Faf du Plessis says it as he sees it

      Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo

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