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ICC World Cup 2019 | Fragile Proteas Must Expect No Mercy from Rampant Australia

Cricketnext Staff |July 5, 2019, 4:28 PM IST
ICC World Cup 2019 | Fragile Proteas Must Expect No Mercy from Rampant Australia

"For this game, some people said it was a dead rubber. There's nothing dead about it." - These were Australia head coach Justin Langer's words when asked if his side were in any way taking the final group game against South Africa lightly now that they have made it to the semi-finals.

There is much more at stake than this just being a dead rubber for Australia. They are currently table toppers and a win will guarantee them of a top finish which means they will in all likelihood face New Zealand in the semi-finals, something they won't mind at all considering how much they dominated their neighbours in the group game.

Australia have played like a champion team and barring the game against India, which they lost while chasing a total in excess of 350, they have dominated all the games and have looked in great touch.

The biggest strength of Australia in this World Cup has been the batting performance of the top three, especially skipper Aaron Finch and David Warner, who are there among the top-10 run-getters in the tournament so far.

Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins have been fiery with the ball not just for the opposition but also their own teammates. A Cummins bouncer ruled Shaun Marsh out of the tournament, while Starc had Glenn Maxwell in a bit of strife in the nets though the all-rounder is declared fit for the final group game.

Starc has been exemplary so far this tournament. He is comfortably the leading wicket-taker with 24 scalps in eight outings which includes two five-wicket hauls and he does not seem to be slowing down. There were talks of him possibly being rested for the South Africa clash but all such rumours have been quashed by Langer.

It sure has been an all-round show from Australia and they will not want any slip-ups going into the semi-finals.

South Africa, on the other hand, have had a rather underwhelming campaign one they will want to forget as soon as possible. But Australia is one team they have done well in the recent past and will want to bow out on a high and salvage some pride.

Their batting, which relies highly on the likes of Faf du Plessis, Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock, has not been consistent, leading to them being knocked out of the competition in the group stage itself. South Africa's bowling has also not been up to the mark with leading pacer Kagiso Rabada failing to live up to the expectations.

They have five points from eight games but will want to finish well. This will also be the last game for Imran Tahir in South African ODI colours and he will hope he has a good outing one final time.

"As a team, we need to think about finishing on a good note," he said. "But it makes me feel very sad and emotional that I'm going to leave," Tahir said ahead of the game.

"It was always my dream to play international cricket and I'm really grateful to everyone who helped me along on the way. They accepted me for who I was, the guy who came from overseas."

Last five ODIs:

Australia: W W W W W

What difference can a few months make! A team that couldn't buy a win the whole of last year suddenly with the inclusion of Steve Smith and David Warner are on a rampage and there seems to be very little other teams can do to stop them. Just one blip against India but otherwise Australia have been clinical and will want to end the group stage with a win.

South Africa: W L L W NR

Much was expected from the Proteas this time around but they have been disappointing, to say the least. They started off with a thrashing at the hands of England but it was the loss against Bangladesh that hurt them the most and they could never recover from that. A loss against India then further put the wind out of their sails and even wins against Afghanistan and Sri Lanka did not help much.

Players to watch out for:

David Warner: From the bull to Hum-bull, Warner's nickname in the Australian dressing room might have changed but there is no change in the number of runs he is scoring and the consistency of it. Australia's highest run-scorer so far in the tournament, Warner looks hungrier than ever and will want to come up with another good show against South Africa.

Faf du Plessis: None from the South African side would be hurting more than their captain Faf du Plessis. He was supposed to be their marquee player but has just not been consistent enough. He struck some form last game slamming 96 in South Africa's win over Sri Lanka and will want to finish the tournament off with a similar show.

Team availability/injuries:

Australia: Shaun Marsh is ruled out of the tournament after sustaining a fracture on his forearm and Peter Handscomb has been drafted in. It is unlikely Australia will want to tinker too much with a winning combination.

South Africa: With the tournament done and dusted the Proteas might look to bring in a few fringe players for the last game.

Squads:

Australia: Aaron Finch (captain), Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey (wicketkeeper), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Peter Handscomb, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa

South Africa: Faf du Plessis (captain), Aiden Markram, Quinton de Kock (wicketkeeper), Hashim Amla, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Chris Morris, Andile Phehlukwayo, JP Duminy, Dwaine Pretorius, Beuran Hendricks, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Imran Tahir, Tabraiz Shamsi

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Cricket World Cup Points Table

Pos Team P W L T/NR PTS NRR
1
IND
9 7 1 1 15 +0.80
2
AUS
9 7 2 0 14 +0.86
3
ENG
9 6 3 0 12 +1.15
4
NZ
9 5 3 1 11 +0.17
5
PAK
9 5 3 1 11 -0.43
6
SL
9 3 4 2 8 -0.91
7
SA
9 3 5 1 7 -0.03
8
BAN
9 3 5 1 7 -0.41
9
WI
9 2 6 1 5 -0.22
10
AFG
9 0 9 0 0 -1.32

Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3631 113
2 New Zealand 2547 111
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3663 105
5 Australia 2640 98
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6420 123
2 India 6807 122
3 New Zealand 4763 113
4 Australia 5470 112
5 South Africa 5193 110
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 Australia 5471 261
5 India 7273 260
see more