South Africa and Australia meet for the second time in their triangular series in Zimbabwe. South Africa have all but secured their spot in Saturday's final, but a win will go far in boosting their confidence.
Venue: Harare Sports Club
Dates: Tuesday, 2 September
Start time: 8:30 a.m. BST (9:30 a.m. local time)
TV and live stream: SuperSport (South Africa and Zimbabwe), PTV Sports (Pakistan), Ten Sports (India and others), Orbit Show Network (Middle East), Willow TV (USA).
Weather: It will be sunny, but quite cool in Harare on Tuesday. AccuWeather.com forecasts temperatures of around 21 degrees Celsius.
Against all the odds, Zimbabwe have managed some magic in this tri-series. On Sunday, they recorded their first ODI win against Australia in 31 years. Nobody had given Zimbabwe a chance, but they pulled the rug out from underneath one of the world’s ODI powerhouses on Sunday.
The tri-series hosts pulled off a three-wicket win with 12 balls still to spare after Australia managed just 209-9 after batting first.
That was their lowest-ever total batting first against Zim. Nobody expected the hosts to win, but Australia were completely unconvincing while the hosts finally gathered the oomph that has been missing for so long.
South Africa had a similar stumble against Zimbabwe on Friday, but they still managed to come out top.
At the post-match presentation that day, Zim captain Elton Chigumbura was asked what had been going wrong. He said that they were outplayed against Australia in their opener. After letting a good position slip against South Africa, he said his team needs to “learn how to win games.” His solution was just one word: mindset.
And what a change mindset can make. Despite a few stumbles in their chase, Zim held their nerve, and Chigumbura and Prosper Utseya held on to seal the chase and record a magnificent win for a team that has had as many struggles off the field as it has had on it.
Now South Africa and Australia will square in what should be an interesting match. The Aussies are not quite in a “must-win” situation just yet, but they are under significantly more pressure now.
If they lose against the Proteas, they will need South Africa to beat Zimbabwe in their final clash on Thursday in order to reach the final on Saturday.
A win without a bonus point will put them level on points with South Africa. But even that result does not give them the all-clear. Zimbabwe could still progress if they beat SA with a bonus point and significantly improve their net run rate.
Australia will be without Michael Clarke, who returned from injury on Sunday only to injure his hamstring after hitting an unbeaten 68 in the losing cause. Cricket Australia confirmed this in a press release on Sunday.
South Africa are likely to see AB de Villiers and Morne Morkel return after the pair sat out against Zimbabwe. They will also be looking to improve on their early collapse, which saw them lose their first six wickets for just 21 runs.
Quinton de Kock's partnership with Hashim Amla at the top of the order seems evergreen at the moment. The youngster has gotten a few starts but hasn't converted any of those to a big hundred just yet. It's surely only a matter of time before he does.
George Bailey captained the team aptly in Michael Clarke's absence. With the regular skipper now missing out yet again, Bailey's captaincy brain as well as his batting will be in the spotlight for Australia once again
George Bailey (c), Ben Cutting, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Brad Haddin (w/k), Phillip Hughes, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc and Shane Watson.
AB de Villiers (c), Kyle Abbott, Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock (w/k), JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, Ryan McLaren, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Aaron Phangiso, Rilee Rossouw, Mthokozisi Shezi, Dale Steyn
All stats and quotes via ESPNCricinfo, unless otherwise stated
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