Almost two years after the ball-tampering scandal, Australia are back on South African soil for a three-match T20I and three-match ODI series. The tour starts with the T20s, the first of which will be played at the New Wanderers Stadium, in Johannesburg on February 21. With both sides playing at full-strength, the series promises to be a riveting affair.
Ground details and team combination
New Wanderers Stadium, in Johannesburg, is one of the best batting grounds not just in South Africa but around the world. The average run-rate here since the start of 2018 is a high 9.4 with batsmen averaging 30.1 runs/wicket. So, it goes without saying that top-order batsmen and hard hitters should feature in your side in abundance. The likes of David Warner, Quinton de Kock and David Miller should easily be the first few names in your eleven.
In whatever limited success that they have had, pacers have been miles ahead of their spin bowling counterparts. They have accounted for 70.5% of the wickets here since the start of 2018 striking every 16.9 balls, as opposed to spinners who have a strike-rate of 51!
Among the different bowler types, right-arm fast bowlers have the best record here. They have returned a wicket every 15 balls in T20Is since the start of 2018. Both sides boast some of the fiercest bowlers in world cricket. Kagiso Rabada, Pat Cummins should certainly make it to your team while Lungi Ngidi could also be included.
There were not a lot of positive takeaways for South Africa from their series against England but the way Quinton de Kock led the side in ODIs and T20Is was refreshing. He was South Africa’s highest run-scorer in both series and will want to continue when Australia arrive. De Kock has a good record at Johannesburg averaging a strong 37.84 in T20s here. He likes facing Australia too in the shortest format of the game as his average of 34.25 suggests.
The last time David Warner was in South Africa, things did not pan out the way he would have liked. He left the country in tears and was slapped a one year ban soon after. He would hence be itching to right all those wrongs. Warner is coming into the series in impeccable form. Since January 2019, Warner has smashed 287 runs in six T20I innings which includes two half-centuries and a hundred. His average reads an unprecedented 287!
Like David Warner, Steve Smith is also coming back to South Africa for the first time since the ban and he will have revenge on his mind. Smith has shown impressive form in T20Is. Since the start of 2019, he averages an astounding 146 in the shortest format of the game. He has two fifty-plus scores in six innings.
He might be off radar at times but when Mitchell Starc does get it right, batsmen better watch out! Starc has not played a lot of T20 cricket but in the world cup year he might get a lot more outings in the shortest format. He had a good record in the limited matches he played over the last year. In five innings, he returned eight wickets striking every 14.3 balls. Starc is one player who can get you a lot of points.
So, who should you pick in your fantasy team for this encounter? We are going with a combination of five frontline batsmen including the wicketkeeper, two all-rounders and four bowlers.
Quinton de Kock (c & wk), David Warner (vc), Steve Smith, David Miller, Rassie van der Dussen, Andile Phehlukwayo, Ashton Agar, Kagiso Rabada, Mitchell Starc, Lungi Ngidi, Adam Zampa