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South Africa vs Australia 1st T20I: Focus on Smith, Warner as SA Seek Revenge

After losing the T20I series against England under Quinton’ de Kock’s leadership, South Africa will now face Australia in a three-match T20I series followed by a three-match ODI series. The South Africa vs Australia 1st T20I will be played in Johannesburg on Friday, February 21. This is the first meeting between the teams since the sandpaper gate scandal in their last series. 

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Focus will be on Steve Smith and David Warner in South Africa vs Australia, 1st T20I. There were reports that the duo will be received by a hostile crowd this time after their infamous scandal in the last series. Smith, who was the skipper of the Australian side back then has said that the Protean crowd will not bother him much. 

Also Read: Ricky Ponting Reveals the Reason Behind Sandpapergate Scandal

When asked about the potentially hostile crowds, Smith said, “I think they’re hostile here at the best of times. It doesn’t bother me too much. (Coach) Justin (Langer) said the other day that we had the dress rehearsal in England (last year). There was a fair bit going on there.”

Smith further said that he was glad to come back to South Africa for a brand new series and is anticipating good contest between both sides. “Everywhere I have been the people have been lovely. Guys have come up and taken some photos and been really nice,” he said. “It’s been normal, the same as compared to when I’ve been here previously. It’s a terrific place to tour and I’m glad to be back.”

The series has a big impact on both sides, especially with this being the year of the World T20. Aussies played a three-match ODI against India to start the year and this is their very first T20I series. South Africa played against England in a full-fledged series which ended with the T20Is which they lost. 

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The series against Australia thus gives them an opportunity to come back to winning ways. South Africa recently saw Faf Du Plessis step down as captain De Kock was chosen the ODI and T20I captain. However, Faf will continue to play T20 cricket and is a part of the squad as well. Quinton de Kock, who led them against England will lead the team against Australia as well. The South Africa vs Australia 1st T20I will be thus important for both teams to take an upper hand in the series. 

The Protean squad will see a few returns and a few omissions in the squad ahead of the South Africa vs Australia 1st T20I. Temba Bavuma is doubtful for the series after injuring his hamstring in the third and final T20I against England. His return is subjected to his rehabilitation process. While Bavuma is doubtful, Kagiso Rabada makes a return in the Protean T20I side. He will join the pace battery of Dale Steyn, Lungi Ngidi and Anrich Nortje. Dwaine Pretorius, Andile Phehlukwayo will perform the all-round duties in the absence of premier all-rounder Chris Morris.

Also Read: Happy Birthday Mr.360: Top 5 Knocks of AB De Villiers

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The Australian side that has been named for the T20I series also has a few notable absentees. Glenn Maxwell has been ruled out of the series with an elbow injury, while Marcus Stoinis has been dropped. Darcy Short was named as Maxwell’s replacement while Mitchell Marsh edged Stoinis for the all-rounder’s spot. Stoinis finished with 705 including a century and six half-centuries in the recently concluded BBL season. However, he was unused with the ball.

Mitchell Marsh was chosen for the South Africa series as the seam-bowling allrounder not only because of his bowling, but he also scored at a higher strike rate with a lower dot-ball percentage batting in the middle order for the Perth Scorchers.

Both the squads are therefore well-rounded ahead of the series and the South Africa vs Australia 1st T20I promises to be a cracker of a contest with quality players on both sides. 

Squads for South Africa vs Australia 1st T20I 

South Africa 

Quinton de Kock (c/wk), Temba Bavuma (subject to fitness) Faf du Plessis, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Pite van Biljon, Dwaine Pretorius, Andile Phehlukwayo, Jon-Jon Smuts, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lungi Ngidi, Bjorn Fortuin, Anrich Nortje, Dale Steyn, Heinrich Klaasen

Australia 

 Aaron Finch (c), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey (vc), Pat Cummins (vc), Mitchell Marsh, Darcy Short, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa

South Africa vs Australia 1st T20I Stats Preview

1) Australia have not lost any of the three T20I series they played on South Africa soil in the last 10 years. 

2) Australia has not lost a T20I match since the start of 2019. Their last defeat in this format was during the 2018 home series against India. 

3) Quinton de Kock has 48 dismissals in T20Is, two shy from 50.

4) Aaron Finch has scored 1,878 runs and needs another 122 runs to reach the 2,000 runs milestone.

5) David Warner’s batting average in the T20I cricket in the 2019-20 season reads 287.

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