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T20 World Cup 2021, Australia vs South Africa (Super 12) Preview: Stage set for a thrilling encounter

The 2021 ICC T20 World Cup gets its Super 12 stages underway from Saturday. The opening clash would be between Australia and South Africa, and it is expected to be a cracker.

T20 World Cup 2021, Australia vs South Africa (Group 1, Super 12): Report, result, winner-ayh
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Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates, First Published Oct 22, 2021, 8:13 PM IST
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The main phase of the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 gets underway from Saturday, with the Super 12s starting, which would see the top-ranked nations competing after a week of Qualifying action. As we present the preview, the opening encounter is between former champion Australia and South Africa of Group 1 at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

Current form
Australia is coming off a win and a loss in the warm-ups, while it lost its previous five-match T20I series to Bangladesh 1-4. As for South Africa, it is coming off a winning streak, having won both its warm-up games, besides winning its previous three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka 3-0.

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Team composition
Australia is surprisingly heavy on its bowling. However, considering the slow nature of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) tracks, it might be a decent call by the Australians. Moreover, opener David Warner's poor form is a concern for the side, while the focus would also be on top guns like Steven Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood.

As for South Africa, it is tide heavy on its batting. While it does not have the services of opener Faf du Plessis, a lot would rely on David Miller, Aiden Markram, Quinton de Kock, along with Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada. Overall, it is its bowling that possesses more star power than its batting.

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Injury concerns and Head-to-head
None of the sides has any injury concerns ahead of the Super 12s. Both teams have played 21 T20Is against each other to date, with Australia leading 38. In the T20WC, the two have clashed just once, with Australia having the upper hand.

Weather and pitch report
The weather in Abu Dhabi to be somewhat soothing, with an expected temperature of 33 degrees and 54% humidity, while it would be bright sunny. The track would instead favour the batters, while toss is unlikely to play an important role here.

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Probable XI
Australia:
Aaron Finch (c), David Warner, Mitchell Marsh, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Matthew Wade (wk), Josh Inglis, Ashton Agar, Adam Zampa, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc
South Africa: Temba Bavuma (c), Quinton de Kock (wk), Aiden Markram, Rassie Van Der Dussen, David Miller, Heinrich Klaasen, Dwaine Pretorious, Anrich Nortje, Keshav Maharaj, Tabraiz Shamsi and Kagiso Rabada

Fantasy XI
Batters:
Smith, Finch, Miller- Finch is expected to give the right start, while Smith can provide strength at number three, as Miller would consolidate in the middle-order.
Wicketkeeper: De Kock (vc)- He is the only man in form as an opener, and his consistency makes him the deputy captain.
All-rounders: Maxwell (c)- While he is doing great with the bat of late, he can also contribute as a spinner, making him the skipper.
Bowlers: Hazlewood, Starc, Cummins, Zampa, Rabada, Nortje- In a star-studded bowling attack, Zampa would be the ideal assist for Maxwell with his spins, while the remaining five are sure to nail it with their pace.

Match details
Date and day:
October 23, 2021 (Saturday)
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
Time: 3.30 PM (IST)
Where to watch (TV): Star Sports 1 and Star Sports 1 Hindi (Also available in HD, along with regional languages)
Where to watch (Online): Hotstar

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