South Africa and Australia's first Twenty20 of their three-match series was rained off without a ball being bowled. The teams now shift to Durban, where the forecast is looking equally grim.
What: South Africa vs. Australia, 2nd T20
Venue: Kingsmead, Durban
When: Wednesday, 12 March 2014
Start time: 4 p.m. GMT/6 p.m. local time
Live on: SuperSport 2, South Africa; Sky Sports, U.K.
Weather: There is little good news on the weather front. Accuweather predicts afternoon showers, which will change into "occasional rain and drizzle".
With the first game rained off without the possibility of any play, both teams were probably left quite irked. The T20 series between South Africa and Australia was set up to be the the perfect preparation for the World T20 which begins in Bangladesh next week.
Competitive game time was what both sides wanted but instead they got rain. The bright side is that it offers much respite for a few of the tired legs and minds of the players who have a seemingly never-ending cricket workload.
Durban's weather is looking to condemn both teams to the same fate. Heavy rain over the last few days and more rain forecast on match day could very well see yet another match called off before a ball is even bowled.
If play does get underway, though, it is most likely to serve up a heavily truncated match, which completely defeats the purpose of the series. Five overs a side—the minimum needed to constitute a match—won't really give anyone an idea of where their team is in terms of combinations and balance.
The teams news remains mostly the same, with Dale Steyn out for South Africa and Mitchell Johnson missing for Australia.
However, Brad Hogg has been added to the casualty list as the 43-year old is battling with a tight hamstring. The veteran adds, as The Telegraph amongst others report, that the injury is only minor and should have no bearing on his place in the World T20 squad.
South Africa's captain Faf du Plessis said at a press conference that the bigger picture is the World T20 and resting players is important. The balance between game time, switching mindsets to a different form and resting some key players is tricky. Du Plessis told reporters:
The bigger picture is the World Cup. We need to consider giving the key guys who have had a tough Test series a rest in some of the games. Someone like AB has played a lot of cricket and has been non-stop for the last three weeks, with the bat, gloves and on the field. From a player management point of view it's important to make sure that the World Cup is the focus point.
Considering the weather outlook, the decision of who to give a break to might be made for the teams, though.
Players to watch
Since the first game had no action, the players to watch remain the same. Young Quinton de Kock is fresh off scoring three consecutive hundreds in the one-day format and, despite an underwhelming Test debut, De Kock could prove he can perform against the best in the world in the shorter format of the game.
David Warner's purple patch continues to be ploughed and harvested. After two centuries in one Test, Warner can now go on to the format he is most suited to: swing and hit.
Faf du Plessis (captain), Kyle Abbott, Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock (wkt), AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Beuran Hendricks, Imran Tahir, David Miller, Albie Morkel, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Aaron Phangiso, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.
George Bailey (captain), Dan Christian, Nathan Coulter-Nile, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Brad Haddin (wkt), Moises Henriques, Brad Hodge, Brad Hogg, Glenn Maxwell, James Muirhead, Mitchell Starc, David Warner, Shane Watson, Cameron White.
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