Tournament and the Ground
The face-off between Australia and South Africa will be the second semi-final of the ICC Women’s T20 world cup 2020. The match will begin on 5th March, 1.30 pm IST onwards. The match will be held at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Sydney, Australia. Match umpires will be Kim Cotton (NZ) and Nitin Menon (Ind).
Players to watch out for and why
The Australian team is perhaps one of the strongest sides we saw in this tournament. Especially on the batting front, the kangaroos have been exquisite. The batting order is led by Alyssa Healy, who has been one of the hardest hitters of this world cup. She is matched by an equally powerful Beth Mooney (153 runs), who is also one of the highest run-scorers in the tournament. Other than these two, the Australian batting order is backed by the likes of Meg Lanning, Ashleigh Gardner, and Rachel Haynes. The bowling attack is equally explosive, thanks to names like Jess Jonassen (6 wickets) and Megan Schutt (7 wickets). They will be supported by Georgia Wareham and Nicola Carey.
On the other side, the South African team is no joke either. Its biggest weapon is skipper Dane van Niekerk, who has been excellent with both bat and bowl. She is aided by the experienced Marizanne Kapp, who has been rather reliable in this tournament. But these two aside, the South African team also occasionally saw the emergence of some brilliant talents, be it Lizelle Lee (101 vs Pak), Sunē Luus (61 vs Pak) or Laura Wolvaardt (51* vs Thailand). These players give the South African batting order a nice touch. On the bowling side, Shabnam Ismail (5 wickets) leads the charge, followed by Ayabonga Khaka (4 wickets). But the presence of allrounders like Niekerk, Luus, and Kapp only makes things better of the team.
Who will win and Why
The matchup between South Africa and Australia looks rather one-sided from the first look. The two teams have only faced each-other four times, and Australia emerged victorious each time. When it comes to the ICC T20 world cup history, things don’t get any brighter for South Africa either. SA has only made it once to the semi-finals before, while Australia has won the cup four times! Currently, South Africa sits at number 5 on ICC T20 rankings, while Australia sits at the top on number one.
However, things don’t look so lopsided when you take a glimpse at South Africa’s spectacular journey in the tournament. SA has been one of the two teams to go undefeated into the semi-finals. The South Africans have managed to beat a team like England, which boasted of an extremely strong batting and bowling line-up. When you look at their form, one can see why South Africa is a worthy opponent for Australia in the semi-finals.
But, despite all of this, the South African team falls short in front of the mighty kangaroos. While South Africa has no shortage of good players, its biggest pitfall is its consistency. Not a single South African player can boast of being consistent in the group stage. While the team has managed victories due to some or the other player emerging as a saviour each time, the risk is too much – especially given the opponent. The Australian team boasts of a string of amazing players, each of whom is a match-winner in her own right. But in combination, they create perhaps the most formidable side in this tournament. It’s a side that the South African team is simply not strong enough to topple.
When they meet tomorrow for the semi-finals, South Africa’s journey would likely end.