Australia will battle it out against South Africa in the fifth match of the One-Day International tri-series in Harare on Tuesday.
Prior to the tournament, many thought this game would have served a dress rehearsal for the final. South Africa are, already, through to the finals as they have won all the three matches they played. They have beaten the host, Zimbabwe, twice and the Aussies once.
Australia, on the other hand, will have to come out victors in this game. If by chance Australia ends up on the losing side, their qualification for the final depends on what happens in the last round between South Africa and Zimbabwe. Depending on another side, to push them through to the final, is not what the Aussies would like to find themselves in.
Australia's shock loss to Zimbabwe on Sunday set the cat amongst the pigeons. Prior to the game, no one gave the Zimbabweans a chance. They, however, proved all and sundry wrong as they registered their first victory over the Aussies since the 1983 World Cup. Australia's weaknesses against spin were thoroughly exposed in this game as they somehow huffed and puffed their way to 209 for nine in 50 overs.
Only skipper Michael Clarke put up some resistance with a hard-fought 68, which he made, despite a hamstring injury. Clarke, however, has gone back to Australia as the injury will prevent him from playing further in the tournament. Clarke will be replaced by George Bailey as captain.
Left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Johnson, who was rested in the last game, will in all probability make a comeback in this game. Australia would need him to trouble the South African batsmen the way he did in the test series in March. Batting all-rounder Steve Smith who was not selected in the last game, should find a place in Tuesday's match. Earlier Clarke had said the team sorely missed Smith as he was one of the players who could play spin well.
Given that Australia did not fare too well against Zimbabwe's spinners South Africa could give, both leg-spinner Imran Tahir and left-arm offie Aaron Phangiso, a chance to feature in the playing eleven. Australia's Nathan Lyon could have a big impact in this game too, furthermore South Africa looked far from comfortable against Utseya, who took a hat-trick against them.
The last time these two sides had met in the tournament South Africa had chased down a mammoth 327 set by Australia in the end. The Aussies on the field looked bereft of ideas at times as middle-order batsmen Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers hammered centuries. On Tuesday Australia have to be at their sharpest to counter a confident South Africa.
Australia need to win this game whereas South Africa would love to knock around the boys from Down Under once more — an exciting game is in prospect.
South Africa: Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock , Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, David Miller, Ryan McLaren, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel,Aaron Phangiso, Imran Tahir.
Australia: Aaron Finch, Phillip Hughes, Mitchell Marsh, George Bailey , Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, Brad Haddin, James Faulkner, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Lyon.
Where to Watch Live:
The game will start at at 9:30am local time (1pm 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.