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Batsmen in focus as stage shifts to St Kitts

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by Gokul Gopal ,
Du Plessis is likely to return to the XI.

Du Plessis is likely to return to the XI. © Getty

After three low-scoring encounters in Guyana, the stage now shifts to St. Kitts where Australia and South Africa will square off on Saturday (June 11) in a bid to strengthen their chances of making it to the final of the tri-series. None of the three matches played at the Providence Stadium yielded a 200+ total and at the end of the Guyana leg, little separates the three teams apart from the fact that both Australia and South Africa secured bonus-point victories.The Proteas came back well after a loss to West Indies in their opening game by defending a total of 189 against Australia. They will be eager to gain some momentum and consolidate the top-spot in the points table, which has been possible due to their superior net run-rate. Australia, on the other hand, will be keen to bounce back with a strong performance and make up for their below-par showing in their previous game.

An unbeaten 55 by David Warner against West Indies and a 72 in a losing cause by Aaron Finch against South Africa have been the only saving grace for Australia in what has otherwise been a batting performance sans application. Steven Smith will be hoping that the batsmen, including himself, make amends with batting-friendly wickets expected at Warner Park. On the other hand, most of the South African batsmen have gotten off to promising starts, but what has let them down has been their inability to capitalise on that. The likes of AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock and JP Duminy are all proven performers, but they need to step up.

Meanwhile, the bowlers from both teams have been delivering consistently. If Nathan Lyon, Adam Zampa and Glenn Maxwell have revelled in spin-friendly conditions, South Africa weren’t to be left behind as Aaron Phangiso and Imran Tahir were amongst the wickets too. The pacers from either team have also done a decent job but they will have their work cut out if the wickets in St. Kitts aid the batsmen as is expected.

When: June 11 at 13:00 Local Time, 22:30 IST

Where: Warner Park, Basseterre, St Kitts

What to expect: Partly cloudy with a high of 31 degree Celsius. Rain is expected in the afternoon.

Team News:

Australia: Mitchell Starc, returning after a lengthy break, was given a rest for the previous game. He is likely to return, and with pace expected to play a bigger role, a spinner might have to make way as Australia are likely to go in with three front-line pacers.

South Africa: Rilee Rossouw, one of two half-centurions thus fas in this series for South Africa, was ruled out after suffering an injury to his right shoulder during the match against Australia. Dean Elgar was called up to the squad as his replacement but South Africa may opt for Faf du Plessis in the playing eleven for the upcoming game. They went in with a three-man spin attack for the previous game but might look at an extra seam option this time.

Did you know:

Australia have posted four 300+ totals at this venue, including the 377 for 6 they made against the Proteas during the 2007 World Cup. South Africa crossed 300 once at this venue against Netherlands in the same tournament. Herschelle Gibbs hit six sixes off consecutive deliveries in that memorable game.

The last time Australia played an ODI at Basseterre was in July 2008. They have an unbeaten record at this venue, having registered two victories against West Indies and one apiece against Scotland, Netherlands and South Africa.

Quotes:

“Getting out in the middle in those situations, he has to find a way to get started and knock the ball around a little bit to get into his innings. He obviously hasn’t done that too well lately, and neither have I, which is frustrating” – Steven Smith hopes for better application from Glenn Maxwell as well as himself.

“There’s a little bit of mystery to him. He’s new so teams won’t have too much footage on him and hopefully the wickets will assist him little bit. But as I’ve heard that the wickets in Barbados and St Kitts are a bit more batter-friendly, he’ll have to work hard and work on his lengths” – Farhaan Behardien on Tabraiz Shamsi.

Squads:

Australia: Steven Smith (c), David Warner, George Bailey, Nathan Coulter-Nile, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade (wk), Adam Zampa

South Africa: Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock (wk), AB de Villiers (c), Faf du Plessis, Jean-Paul Duminy, Dean Elgar, Imran Tahir, Chris Morris, Aaron Phangiso, Kyle Abbott, Farhaan Behardien, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, S Katwaroo

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