Saturday, November 26, 2022

ICC: Three key match-ups to decide South Africa vs Australia

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One team is four-time champions and the other are ‘babies’ when it comes to knockout cricket but for Dane van Niekerk, semi-final pressure is shared equally between Australia and South Africa.

  • South Africa and Australia face off at 19h00 on Thursday
  • Australia are bidding for their fifth Women’s T20 World Cup title
  • For South Africa, a place in their maiden Final is up for grabs

Home comforts have come with expectation for Australia but Meg Lanning’s side boast experience in abundance ahead of their SCG showdown.

For South Africa, meanwhile, semi-final disappointment is evident in their recent history – bidding to reach the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Final for the first time in Sydney.

Top players will therefore require big performances but where will the game be won or lost?

Lizelle Lee v Megan Schutt

A clash between a big-hitting ball-striker and destructive opening bowler is set to send sparks flying in South Africa’s innings.

Few players can hit a cleaner ball than an in-form Lee, who showed her abilities to devastating effect with her century against Thailand.

But to do so against Australia would see her break new ground, struggling for runs on both occasions she has faced them previously.

Both dismissals saw her get out to pace and in Megan Schutt, the hosts boast one of the best in the business.

Schutt has three-wicket hauls in her last two Women’s T20 World Cup matches, taking at least one wicket in 23 consecutive T20Is until the start of 2020.

But with Lee in imperious form in the Women’s Big Bash League, this contest could go either way.

Chloe Tryon v Georgia Wareham

She’s yet to hit her straps in Australia when Chloe Tryon gets going, she’s very difficult to stop.

A career T20I strike rate of 140 shows just how capable she is late in the day, with 34 sixes in her 54 career innings.

Australia will seek early wickets to expose South Africa’s middle order but in doing so they may unleash Tryon’s clinical edge – just as she’s shown in the WBBL.

The task of stopping her may well fall on leg-spinner Georgia Wareham, who produced one of the bowling performances of the tournament in victory over New Zealand.

Dismissing Suzie Bates and Sophie Devine is a fine feat in itself but to do so having spent the first part of the tournament on the sidelines is testament to her character.

Averaging just 13 and conceding less than a run a ball, Wareham is quickly becoming a T20I star – one Australia hope will shine at the SCG.

Alyssa Healy v Shabnim Ismail

This looks like a clash to savour, between an elegant batter and an explosive bowler. 

Healy came into the tournament under pressure but cast that to one side from the off, scoring 51 against India and then 83 in the victory over Bangladesh.

But put her on the back foot from the start and Healy can struggle, evidenced by the ten ducks she has registered in T20I cricket.

Among them is a nought against South Africa – and while Shabnim Ismail didn’t dismiss her on that occasion, her out-and-out pace isn’t something to pass over in a hurry.

Having played in every Women’s T20 World Cup, 11 years of heartache has made Ismail desperate for success with few players leading by example quite like the fast bowler.

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