March 7, 2020
South Africa v Australia
Venue: Senwes Park, Potchefstroom | Start: 7:00pm (AEDT)
South Africa analysis: Having sealed the series with an unassailable 2-0 lead, there’s huge relief in the South African camp. Mark Boucher had been under considerable pressure and was yet to win a series since taking over as coach. In fact, the series win is their first – of any format – in 12 months. In contrast with Australia’s middle order (see below), Proteas’ number five and six Henrich Klaasen and David Miller would expertly finish off on the superb work of joint man-of-the-match Janneman Malan (129 not out off 139) who anchored the chase of 272. Malan shared the honour with the equally-brilliant Lungi Ngidi (6/58) who terrorised the Australian top order.
Moving onto Potchefstroom and, without the series on the line, the Proteas have hinted at resting their two strike bowlers in Ngidi and Tabraiz Shamsi for this one. And given they travel to India almost immediately after this clash for three more ODIs, they could give fringe player Lutho Sipamla and even would-be debutant Daryn Dupavillon a crack.
Australia analysis: The Australians look weary, and after a comprehensive performance in the T20 series by contrast look a shadow the ODI side that reached last year’s World Cup semi-finals. While there’s been lacklustre output across all aspects of their game, the biggest cause for concern is in the middle order. Mitch Marsh, D’Arcy Short and Alex Carey all struggled in game one and while game two saw Short (69 off 83) and Marsh (36 off 45) contribute, in truth it their sub-85 strike-rate in the late overs was not good enough, and would contribute to Australia’s sub-par total. If Australia is any hope of clawing back some pride in game three, they’ll need to lift in that department.
The day could be a big one for Marnus Labuschagne, with up to 50 family members and friends expected in Potchefstroom, a ground just 45 minutes away from the town of Klerksdorp, where Labuschagne was born and lived until he emigrated to Australia at the age of nine.
Mitchell Starc will be missing for the Aussies in this one, returning home to watch wife Alyssa Healy in the Women’s T20 World Cup Final at the MCG. He’ll likely be replaced by Josh Hazlewood, while selectors could also see this as a chance to rest Pat Cummins and give one (or both) of the Richardsons a go (Kane and Jhye).
Betting: Senwes Park in Potchefstroom has not hosted an ODI in almost five years but if the deck is anything like we’ve seen time and time again this South African summer, the ball won’t come on quite as much as the batsmen might hope. If that’s the case, a sub-300 score could yet be on offer. For the home side Henrich Klaasen looks in career-best touch and is a strong option for top runscorer despite (likely) batting at number five. And with Ngidi and Shamsi out, look for Anrich Nortje to pick up the slack in the wickets department. For the Aussies, expect Labuschagne to bounce back from his duck and perform near his hometown. Similarly with the Proteas, with Starc out it’s his replacement in Hazlewood who could pick up top order scalps.
Head to Head: South Africa
Top Runs Scorer – Aust: Marnus Labuschagne
Most Wickets – Aust: Josh Hazlewood
Top Runs Scorer – Opponent: Henrich Klaasen
Most Wickets – Opponent: Anrich Nortje