Old foes Australia and South Africa battle it out in the second match of the tri-series in Harare on Wednesday.
These two proud cricketing nations meet each other after the tightly-contested three-Test series in South Africa in March of this year. On that occasion, Australia had to fight tooth and nail to emerge victorious. Aggressive pace bowling, especially the short stuff, from both sides in that series was a constant.
One remembers Aussie skipper Michael Clarke copping a brutal short ball examination from pacer Morne Morkel in the final test. Clarke was hit on the body several times but he still went on to make 161 and propel Australia to a series victory.
Here in Harare though, the short stuff won't be seen as much on view, as it is a one-day game, but rest assured both sides will go hard at each other as they have always done regardless of the format of the game. Clarke, incidentally, will not be seen in this game as his hamstring injury has not fully healed. He did not play the tri-series opener as well, where Australia hammered hosts Zimbabwe by 198 runs.
"Any time that we can perform really well without him in the team I think it bodes well because we know how strong we're going to be when he does get right and he comes back in," ESPNCricinfo quoted George Bailey, Australia's the stand-in captain, as saying.
It is very hard to pick a favourite when these two strong teams meet. To add to this, both sides go into match on the back of one-day series wins.
South Africa had little difficulty whitewashing Zimbabwe in their previous series, while, before that, they emerged victorious in Sri Lanka in a tightly-contested bilateral tournament. The Aussies, in January of this year, hammered England 4-1 in Australia. At present, Australia are ranked number one in the ICC rankings.
"This is the pinnacle of cricket, you want to play against the best in the world. Australia are number one in the world and play a good brand of cricket but they also haven't played much in the last few months. We probably do have the advantage in terms of match practice," said South Africa batsman JP Duminy.
For the South Africans, pacers Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, in all probability, will make a comeback. They were rested for the one-day series against Zimbabwe. Skipper AB de Villiers should figure in the side as well after not playing in South Africa's last match.
Australia may bring in medium pacer Ben Cutting. That apart the side should remain unchanged. The destructive Glenn Maxwell, who hammered 93 of 46 balls against Zimbabwe on Monday, will hope for a repeat performance, although here he goes up against possibly the world's best pace attack.
Wicket-keeper Brad Haddin and Aaron Finch gave Australia a good start against Zimbabwe with a 98-run stand. They will be looking for something similar in this game too.
More often than not a South Africa versus Australia contest is a tight one -- this game promises to be no different.
Expected lineups: Australia: Aaron Finch, Brad Haddin, Mitchell Marsh, George Bailey, Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, James Faulkner, Mitchell Johnson, Kane Richardson, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon
South Africa: Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, David Miller, Ryan McLaren, Wayne Parnell, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Aaron Phangiso.
Where to Watch Live:
The game will start at at 9:30 am local time (1 pm IST) with live coverage in India on Ten Cricket. The match can also be watched via live streaming online in India HERE. In South Africa it will be shown on Supersport 2, the live streaming option is HERE. In Australia Fox Sports 2 will broadcast the match while viewers can also watch it live online HERE. Willow TV will air the game in the United States, with the option to live stream available HERE.