While Australia have had a bumper World Cup South Africa’s has been one to forget.
The Aussies will look to heap more misery on the misfiring Proteas and need a win if they want to sew up top spot and a semi-final against New Zealand.
Aussie concern as nightmare threatens
With nothing to lose, South Africa are hoping to make Australia’s path to World Cup glory all the harder with the side ready to launch on the Aussies.
At 2/218 off 36 overs, South Africa have shown their intent.
In their last World Cup performance of the tournament, South Africa will be hoping to cruise past 300 for just the second time in nine games.
With Faf du Plessis and Rassie van der Dussen set and bringing up a century partnership, it’s looking tough for Australia with need to win to make sure they stay on top of the World Cup ladder.
A loss will likely see them fall to second on the ladder and set up a blockbuster semi-final clash with England. A win will see a clash with New Zealand, who have stumbled with three straight losses in the lead up to the finals.
‘Genuine mistake’ ends pearler
Quinton de Kock has let a big score go wanting after trying to put Nathan Lyon to the sword.
De Kock had looked to smash Lyon with a big slog sweep, but caught the edge, hitting an easy catch to Mitchell Starc in the gully.
The commentators called it a “genuine mistake” with the flat wicket and fast outfield proving a batsman’s paradise so far.
De Kock departed for 52 off 51 balls as Lyon strike again.
After the wickets, the fast start had slowed with just 17 runs in the five overs between the 16th and 21st after 107 came from the first 16 overs.
GOAT strikes to stop the carnage
Nathan Lyon is proving his selection as Australia’s number one spinner has paid off with the off-spinner striking the first blow.
Lyon, like all the bowlers were getting spanked around the fast Old Trafford ground.
But a little flight has beaten Aiden Markram with Alex Carey whipping off the bails.
“Lovely bowling, that really is good,” Mark Nicholas said in commentary. “You’re asking for Nathan Lyon to take wickets and that’s what he’s done.”
Markram was out for 34 off 37 balls.
South Africa have set a cracking pace however, putting Australia to the sword.
Carnage as Aussie whacked
It took just 7.2 overs for South Africa to pass the 60 mark as the Proteas openers have put the Aussie opening bowlers to the sword.
Australia have used four bowlers so far with Nathan Lyon and Pat Cummins’ two overs going for just 15 runs the most economical so far.
Those crazy scores that were predicted earlier in the tournament may finally come true as the sides look to be playing on a road.
After nine overs, South Africa were 0/72 with Jason Behrendorff bowling the 10th over which went for just one additional run.
It’s far from the start for the Aussie bowlers in the World Cup with Sri Lanka hitting 0/87 in their opening power play when the teams played earlier in the tournament.
Proteas win toss and bat
South Africa have won the toss and elected to bat against Australia at Old Trafford.
Either that’s a sign they want their disastrous World Cup over quick as possible and it’s a license for Mitchell Starc to deliver fire and blood or they have a plan to try and make Australia chase a tough total.
The Aussies are unchanged for the match.
Finch backs fiery approach
Australia captain Aaron Finch insists there will be no let-up in the intensity of the champions’ training sessions at the World Cup after ‘friendly fire’ ended batsman Shaun Marsh’s involvement in the tournament.
Marsh suffered a broken arm batting against Australia fast bowler Pat Cummins in the nets at Old Trafford on Thursday ahead of their concluding group match against South Africaon Saturday.
The consolation for Australia, already through to the semi-finals, is Marsh — who has now been replaced in the squad by Peter Handscomb — had already fallen out of their first-choice side.
“Shaun is still in surgery at the moment, currently,” Finch told reporters at Old Trafford on Friday.
“So we just wish him a speedy recovery. I think it hit the boys pretty hard yesterday.
“It was just unfortunate that it hit him where it did. An inch lower, an inch higher, and he would be fine.”
Shortly before Marsh’s injury, all-rounder Glenn Maxwell — batting in the very same net — was struck a painful blow by left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Starc, the tournament’s leading wicket-taker.
Asked if the Australia quicks were being fed “red meat”, a smiling Finch replied: “No, it was just one of those freak things. Shaun got a bouncer that sort of followed him a little bit.
“We always pride ourself on competitive net sessions. We think that keeps you very sharp as a batsman in particular and it was one of those unfortunate things.
“Maxxy, the one that he got just didn’t bounce quite as much as he expected, it hit him on the arm, so yeah, it was no fault of anyone really.
“It was guys being competitive in the nets and guys making sure that each and every one’s as prepared to play as and when required.”
Finch, however, was pleased the likes of Starc were not easing up heading into the knockout phase.
“They were out for a really good bowl yesterday having a couple of days off,” he said.
“There’s obviously no malice or anything in it. It was never ideal, but at the end of the day, these things happen in the game.”
Saturday’s match will be the first time Australia batsmen Steve Smith and David Warner have faced South Africa since they were given 12-month bans for their roles in the infamous ball-tampering scandal during a Test match in Cape Town.
But Finch said the fact Australia were playing the Proteas would not provide the pair with any extra incentive.
“I think everyone’s moved on,” he insisted.
“There’s definitely never any more or less motivation than international cricket itself.
“It’s coming to the business end of the World Cup. There’s not much more motivation needed from that.”
The ball-tampering affair was one of several unsavoury incidents during a fractious series with a South Africa side prepared to “sledge” back in response to Australia’s verbal taunts.
But Finch was confident he would not have to keep his players in check on Saturday.
“No, there will be no restraint needed,” he insisted.
“The spirit in which the World Cup has been played has been unbelievable.
“The sportsmanship, the camaraderie amongst the teams has been outstanding.
“I think Australians and South Africans are quite similar in a lot of ways. They are very competitive people, passionate about the game.”