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regular-article-logo Thursday, 18 July 2024

World Cup: Marcus Stoinis’ return a boost for Australia against South Africa

Teams will now clash in Lucknow on Thursday as Australians look to put their campaign back on track

Our Bureau Lucknow Published 12.10.23, 08:52 AM
Marcus Stoinis at nets in Lucknow on Wednesday, the eve of Australia’s matchagainst South Africa.

Marcus Stoinis at nets in Lucknow on Wednesday, the eve of Australia’s matchagainst South Africa. PTI picture

It was a tale of contrasting styles for both Australia and South Africa in their opening matches of the World Cup.

While Australia played below their capabilities and lost convincingly, South Africa rose above expectations and won handsomely. The teams will now clash in Lucknow
on Thursday as Australia look to put their campaign back on track.

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Australia failed to come to terms with India’s spin trio of Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja in Chennai on Sunday and were dismissed for 199. India won by six wickets with 8.4 overs to spare.

In Delhi on Saturday, Quinton de Kock, Rassie van der Dussen and Aiden Markram scored centuries for South Africa as they beat Sri Lanka by 102 runs.

Thus a lot hangs on this particular fixture than on most games between these two sides. That South Africa have won 15 of their last 20 completed ODIs against Australia doesn’t matter much. The Aussies didn’t have their strongest combination in several of those games.

They are likely to bring in a fit-again all-rounder Marcus Stoinis to bolster their batting line-up. “We’ve got a few options and ways we can go about. Potentially, Marcus Stoinis is back on the table. If we want to play eight batters, including a few all-rounders, and things like that...” Steve Smith said.

Smith has already emphasised that the team will reflect on their below-par performance on Sunday but will not sweat over the shaky start.

“Definitely, we can learn a bit from the first game. We, as a group, have talked about playing according to the surface that we are on. In tournament play, you do not want to be peaking too early,” said Smith, Australia’s top-scorer against India with a well-constructed 46.

“But you obviously got to do enough to make your way into the semi-finals. You want to be playing your best cricket at the end. Hopefully, we can turn it around.”

Cummins sticks to ‘best Cup XI’

Australia skipper Pat Cummins on Wednesday said the team doesn’t plan to rotate their fast bowlers during the ODI World Cup unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Australia, the most successful team in the competition, has a fiery pace attack comprising Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood.

“The intention is to try and play every game. We won’t be rotating bowlers unless we have to.... (if) someone is feeling extremely fatigued, someone is managing a niggle and needs rest,” Cummins said on the eve of Australia’s second game against South Africa.

“The intention is to try and have everyone on the selection table for each game. You pick your best 11. It’s a World Cup, you can’t really take any game lightly. Probably later on in the tournament, we’ll look at that if we need to. But at the moment, yeah, there’s no plans.”

Australia’s campaign was off to a bitter start as they lost their opener to hosts India
last week.

The men from Down Under take on rivals South Africa, who head to the fixture on the back of an electrifying 102-run win over Sri Lanka.

“We match quite similarly as in we have got some fast bowlers and batters that take the game on and maybe a leg spinner. I feel like it’s a clash of two very similar teams.”

Asked if Australia will be wary of opting to bowl second, Cummins said: “I think it’s different at every venue.”

Written with PTI inputs

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