Another high-scorer as Aussies meet Proteas?
South Africa may have come into this World Cup as one of the outsiders for the title but their emphatic victory over Sri Lanka in their opening match has many already tipping them for a deep run in the tournament – something which has been very rare in the recent editions of the showpiece event.
The Proteas, who have never managed to make it to the final of this competition in eight attempts – often incredibly losing crucial matches that they should have won – are enjoying their time out of the limelight as they head into a clash against five-time champions Australia today.
The match in Lucknow, which gets underway at 2:30pm Bangladesh time, will be Australia's second too – their first ending in a six-wicket defeat against India in Chennai. With Australia coming into this match in a difficult position and South Africa with full of confidence, the Lucknow clash promises to be a blockbuster like the two teams have produced in both World Cups and bilateral series over the years.
Australia, who were bowled out for 199 by India on a turning Chepauk wicket, will be buoyed by the return of all-rounder Marcus Stoinis from a hamstring injury. Captain Pat Cummins said he expects a high-scoring game in Lucknow.
"I think chatting to Stoinis and a couple of other guys, it's probably in a bit of a different condition to what it is for the IPL. The wicket looks really good so yeah, he's someone we'll look at pretty closely," Cummins said on Wednesday.
"When it's a good wicket - which that looks like - most of the games have been 300 plus," Cummins said. "I haven't had a look at it today, but last night it looked really good, really even. Maybe a bit of pace and bounce. We'll see how it is tomorrow."
Australia will, however, continue to be without opener Travis Head, nursing a hand injury.
The five-times champions will be wary of South Africa, who smashed 428-5 in their opening win over Sri Lanka. Three of their top-order batters – Quinton de Kock, Rassie van der Dussen and Aiden Markram – got centuries in that match, with Markram smashing the fastest in the history of the World Cup.
Although the bowling attack allowed Sri Lanka to score well over 300 runs, there isn't likely to be any changes to their playing XI.
The Proteas won a recent high-scoring series between the two teams 3-2 after trailing 0-2 and they also lead the head-to-head record between the two sides by 54-50. Although Australia have the edge when it comes to World Cup meetings, it was the defeat against the Proteas that knocked the Aussies out of a semifinal contention the last time they met.
*Overall ODI head-to-head gives South Africa the edge with 54 wins against Australia's 50 in 108 meetings. Three contests have ended in a tie, while one encounter saw no result.
*In World Cups, however, the five-time champions lead with three wins in six fixtures. South Africa won two while one contest was tied.
*Australia's David Warner has scored the most runs amongst active players in their contests, with the left-hander having accumulated 1213 runs in 28 matches, averaging 43.32. Following his 122 in the 2019 edition, Warner also leads the chart for the highest individual score in the apex event.
*Despite having explosive openers, South Africa's middle-order has managed to score runs at the highest rate (6.4) over the last four years in ODIs, and their average of 44.6 is the best in that time. In comparison, Australia averaged 29.9 at a run-rate of 5.40 over the same period.
*In the bowling scheme of things, the Proteas' Powerplay average is 43, at an economy rate of 6.6, which is the worst, while Australia's bowlers average 40.7 but have an economy rate of 5.4 in the first 10 overs of the innings.