Ed Hawkins previews game two from Port Elizabeth on Sunday with the hosts needing to get back on track after a horror show...
"It's just three wins in their last ten chases for South Africa. This trait is of great use when trying to decipher value"
South Africa v Australia
Sunday 23 February, 12:30
TV: live on Sky Sports
Bavuma might miss out again
South Africa turned in a stinker of a batting effort in Johannesburg to compound their weakness in the format. On a good batting wicket, they were still in with a shout at the break after their bowlers had strived and battled. But their batters showed no admirable qualities.
They fell to a record low total, bowled out for just 89 in pursuit of 197. Quinton de Kock fell in the first over and they never recovered. Their best hope is to write it off as a blip, rather nhan let it fester. Good news, then, that they are back in action so soon.
The game might come too soon for Temba Bavuma. He was ruled out of the first match with a hamstring injury, meaning Rassie van der Dussen opened with De Kock. That's probably their best opening combination given the refusal to pick Reeza Hendricks or Janne Malan. It was also strange that Heinrich Klaasen was dropped after his blitz against England.
Probable XI De Kock, Van der Dussen, Du Plessis, Smuts, Miller, Van Biljon, Phehlukwayo, Steyn, Shamsi, Ngidi, Rabada
Australia building well
Ashton Agar is solid and dependable. But should be running through teams with a hat-trick and five-wicket haul at this level? Probably not. He seemed surprised himself post-match.
Agar's performance guarantees Australia will go into the T20 World Cup pairing him and Adam Zampa as twin spinners. And there is a lot to like about that approach. Just don't expect Agar top be picking up too any more match gongs.
More important that Agar's effort was Steve Smith's 45 from 32 at No 3. Previously considered a weak link because of underwhelming numbers, Smith is reinventing himself. When Glenn Maxwell comes back into this side they should be tough to stop.
Probable XI Finch, Warner, Smith, Wade, Marsh, Carey, Agar, Cummins, Starc, Zampa, K Richardson
There have been only two T20 internationals at St George's Park. The first in 2007 is an irrelevance because rain washed away overs. The second was in 2012 when West Indies defended 179 against New Zealand.
Fortunately, there has been plenty of Mzansi Super League action. The last five scores in those matches (1-2 denote match won by side batting first or second, most recent first) read: 186-2/160-2/166-1/188-2/166-1. In all the eight domestic T20 matches played there in 2019, 160 was busted five times out of eight.
Historically, there has been a toss bias against the chaser (43% win rate) but the wicket was holding up pretty well in the Mzansi.
This week's episode of Cricket...Only Bettor reveals the most reliable batsmen and bowlers to top in the Pakistan Super League
Saffers need to defend
It's just three wins in their last ten chases for South Africa. This trait is of great use when trying to decipher value in a match up which pits the hosts at 13/82.66 and Australia at 40/851.47. We can rule out any suggestion of a bet in the Saffers if they chase.
Getting involved at the latter price is anathema, of course, but as we said consistently throughout the three-match series against England, South Africa are a tricky proposition with a par score on the board on a helpful wicket and that strong pace attack roaring in.
They need help from that toss bias and some overcast conditions (no rain forecast) to make them a trade.
Finch versus Warner
David Warner takes a cut from 12/5 to 11/4 for top Aussie bat despite failure at The Wanderers. Sportsbook clearly believe it makes him more likely. Opening partner Aaron Finch is the same price with Smith at 7/2.
De Kock is 9/4 jolly. That's also a cut (from 23/10). Van der Dussen is 10/3. Bavuma and Faf Du Plessis, who top scored with 24 in Jo'burg, are ahead of him at 3/1.
Ed Hawkins P-L
Based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running match advice or commission rate. Figures 2013-2016 on 1pt level stakes. New points system (0.5pt-5) introduced for 2017. Includes Hawk-Eye stats column p-l
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Trade South Africa batting first 13/82.66 to 4/51.80