Australia beat South Africa by five wickets – as it happened

Last modified: 01: 36 PM GMT+0
  • Australia hold on to win thriller at start of Super 12s
  • Marcus Stoinis the matchwinner with two boundaries in final over

Not a great chase, but enough. Stoinis is much improved player in that finisher role and it showed at the vital moments, hitting three boundaries in the 19th and 20th overs to get the Australians to the finish line. A game where ball dominated bat in both innings, the work of Josh Hazlewood at the very start the most important contribution on the day for the winners. South Africa did so much right with the ball in the field but weren’t given enough to play with.

Right, with England v West Indies beginning in 25 minutes (toss news shortly), I encourage you to join Tanya Aldred on the other side. Thanks for your company, see you throughout the World Cup!


19.4 overs: Australia 121-5 (Stoinis 24, Wade 15) Target 119. Full toss and put away! Stoinis the matchwinner with two balls to spare!

19.3 overs: Australia 117-5 (Stoinis 20, Wade 15) Target 119. Dot ball, Pretorius full and straight and Stoinis can’t beat cover. All the fielders are inside the circle now. 2 off 3 needed.

19.2 overs: Australia 117-5 (Stoinis 20, Wade 15) Target 119. Stoinis down the ground and it’s four! Stand and deliver! “Probably a matchwinning hit,” says Mark Nicholas 2 off 4 needed.

19.1 overs: Australia 113-5 (Stoinis 16, Wade 15) Target 119. Stoinis takes two to backward square - great running. 6 off 5 needed.

19th over: Australia 111-5 (Stoinis 14, Wade 15) Target 119. Dropped catch! I’m being unfair - Nortje had next to no time to react in his follow through, saving two runs with Stoinis hitting it so well. Wade opens up the off side but picks out deep backward point for the second time in a row. Stoinis’ turn again and he clears midwicket... four runs! That’s a crucial moment, going the off-pace delivery into the wicket, giving him a chance to free hit arms. And he retains the strike out to deep cover. Eight off the final over required.

18th over: Australia 101-5 (Stoinis 6, Wade 13) Target 119. Pretorius does everything right other than missing one outside the off-stump. Beyond that, six singles, giving neither batsmen a risk-free route to the boundary. 18 from 12 needed, Nortje set to bowl over 19.

“Afternoon Adam.” And to you, Andy Bradshaw. “I’m looking forward to seeing which team out chokes each other.” It’s been that kind of game so far. In turn, I’ll back the fielding team from here.

17th over: Australia 94-5 (Stoinis 3, Wade 10) Target 119. Juuuuust short of Markram at mid-off, he had to go for it even though it meant four runs after he skipped through his hands - nothing wrong with that; positive cricket. Rabada’s yorker follows, dug out. Resourceful from Wade to finish, jumping across his stumps to lift the quick over backward square for four. That’s very clever batting. 25 from 18 now.

16th over: Australia 83-5 (Stoinis 1, Wade 1) Target 119. That was Shamsi’s 50th wicket in T20is. He now has a slip in for the new man Wade - indeed, neither player has faced a ball yet. Australia went with the extra batter for this very reason, even though Wade’s record in the middle order in this format isn’t crash hot at all. “Every moment is heart in your mouth stuff now,” says Mark Nicholas. Ooh, inside edge from Stoinis - so close. Up to nine and over needed.

WICKET! Maxwell b Shamsi 18 (Australia 81-5)

Maxwell misses his reverse - he’s bowled! It’s game on now.

15th over: Australia 81-4 (Maxwell 18, Stoinis 0) Target 119. Declare my interest: I want nothing but good things for this Australian pair. And they have the chance to ice this; they have all the experience to do precisely that. But 38 from 30 is no walk on the park. “Maxwell has to make a big decision,” says Mark Nicholas. “Does he push himself or does he wait as he has so far?” A telling over coming up.


WICKET! Smith c Markram b Nortje 35 (Australia 80-4)

There’s the breakthrough! And whaddacatch! Smith just launched Nortje through midwicket for four and went again but didn’t get all of it, giving Markram the chance to race around from long-on and dive for it and dive he did! To his right, full stretch, Superman stuff.

14th over: Australia 75-3 (Smith 31, Maxwell 17) Target 119. Reverse! Yep, there’s shifting gears here - Maxwell nails his switcheroo, taking Shamsi over short third for four. He follows by making room to slap down the ground for four more but can’t beat long-off. Smith goes in the same direction with a shot that nearly takes Maxwell’s head off at the non-strikers’ end. Maxwell reversing once more, but this time along the turf to deep point - what a joy to watch that is, making such sweet contact balancing on one leg - a yoga teacher’s dream.

“Hi Adam.” Hello, Jake Santa Maria. “What were your thoughts on the 1st round? Namibia is such a feel good story and Scotland were excellent to. Netherlands were bitterly disappointing and with other associates fast developing I worry about them slipping off the radar.”

Extraordinary to think that the Netherlands actually were the top qualifier for this tournament two years ago, Ireland finishing second - neither progress. On Scotland, they look ready to be an ICC Full Member. Of course, that won’t happen any time soon, but it should.

13th over: Australia 68-3 (Smith 30, Maxwell 11) Target 119. Shot, Steve Smith. Just to change the energy a bit, he comes down to Maharaj and lifts him inside-out over cover into the gap for four. A sign that they are now happy enough to ram home the advantage?

12th over: Australia 60-3 (Smith 21, Maxwell 7) Target 119. Five more singles off Pretorius after Smith nearly gives him a chance in his follow-through. No risks, no boundaries. It means South Africa are only a wicket away from ramping up the pressure again. Meanwhile, did you know that Chris Gayle’s middle name is Henry? Danny Morrison has reminded us of this three times in five minutes.

11th over: Australia 55-3 (Smith 21, Maxwell 7) Target 119. Maxwell is batting in the cap instead of the floppy: always keeping us thinking, never letting us settle. Ideally, at some stage in this tournament he’ll go without entirely, freeing the top knot. They’re playing within themselves against Maharaj, taking risk-free singles to the sweepers.

Early overs of Aust chase a classic example of conforming to your target rather than just batting fearlessly like you should #T20WorldCup

— Daniel Brettig (@danbrettig) October 23, 2021

10th over: Australia 51-3 (Smith 19, Maxwell 5) Target 119. Pretorius with wheels right away too, South Africa’s third seamer past Maxwell’s edge with one that really takes off. Four singles to the sweepers follow - good batting at this stage. At the halfway drinks break, Australia require a further 68 from 60 balls. Easy, right?

9th over: Australia 47-3 (Smith 17, Maxwell 3) Target 119. Brilliant footwork from Smith, leaping back to play Shamsi as late as possible, cutting down to deep third for four. Ooooh, half a chance for a run out to finish! Maxwell to the danger end but the throw needed to be a direct hit from Miller at short fine and it wasn’t.

8th over: Australia 39-3 (Smith 11, Maxwell 1) Target 119. Well, as foreshadowed in my preamble a few hours ago, how often is it the case that Maxwell’s performance dictates whether Australia win or lose in this format? He’s coming into this competition in tremendous T20 form, including unbeaten runs against India, and they are only one decent partnership away from getting this done easily.


WICKET! Marsh c van der Dussen b Maharaj 11 (Australia 38-3)

Marsh takes on midwicket with a forceful flick but doesn’t get enough of it, taken by van der Dussen who was set well inside the rope - top captaincy from Bavuma to tempt him into that.

7th over: Australia 33-2 (Marsh 8, Smith 9) Target 119. Shamsi now, the no1 ranked bowler in the world - what a year he’s had. Such an experienced operator now too, with variations aplenty. He has Smith jumping across his stumps before the ball is bowled - this will be a good contest. Five from the over but South Africa need a wicket.

6th over: Australia 28-2 (Marsh 7, Smith 5) Target 119. Spin to complete the power play, Maharaj into the attack. Marsh nearly gets into some trouble playing back over his head with a horizontal bat, but gets away with it, adding a couple. South Africa lost three wickets in the power play when batting but they’ve definitely won the first six overs of Australia’s innings. Shamsi to bowl next.

5th over: Australia 23-2 (Marsh 4, Smith 3) Target 119. Right, so it is Smith not Maxwell in at No4 - a man in form, having made a classy half-century against India in the warm-up game. He’s off the mark with three, pulled into the gap past square leg. On a knife edge, this.

#SouthAfrica believe...

Finch out for a 🦆 and now Warner - who had looked in decent touch - falls for 14 as Klaasen takes fine catch at backward point 🤲#T20WorldCup | #AUSvSA 🇦🇺🇿🇦

📺 Watch live 👉
📱 Scorecard 👉

— Sky Sports Cricket (@SkyCricket) October 23, 2021

WICKET! Warner c Klaasen b Rabada 14 (Australia 20-2)

Warner falls to Rabada! How often did we say that in 2018? A promising start ends with a fine catch, Klaasen low to his left at backward point after the left-hander miscues the slower ball off the outside part of his bat. Quite the celebration; the Proteas are fired up!

4th over: Australia 16-1 (Warner 10, Marsh 4) Target 119. That’s a tasty clip from Marsh, taking Nortje in front of square for four to get off the mark. Extreme pace follows - up to 150kph - which the West Australian is able to keep out safely. A sound strategy for now.

3rd over: Australia 12-1 (Warner 10, Marsh 0) Target 119. That’s better from Dave Warner, pulling Rabada over square leg for four to start the over then stroking him through the gap at extra cover for a second boundary later in the over. Something to build from.

Lawrie Smith is sacking Starc. “Surely after that first over from Starc, future T20 matches, the opening new ball over should go to Hazelwood or Cummins. In fact I think there should be a big question mark on Starc’s inclusion in the T20 side, he leaks too many runs.” It’ll be interesting what they do now if they wish to use a second spinner - it felt like Cummins v Hazlewood, but maybe Starc is in the gun now given the other two bowled so well.

2nd over: Australia 4-1 (Warner 2, Marsh 0) Target 119. Blimey, that’s rapid to Mitch Marsh to begin - 149kph, past the bat and into the gloves of de Kock while still on the rise. Nortje is bang up for this.

WICKET! Finch c Rabada b Nortje 0 (Australia 4-1)

No footwork from Finch, throwing the bat at the pace of Nortje, the thick edge carrying to the safe hands of Rabada at deep third! It’s a bit early to declare this as game on - the Australians only require one decent partnership to break the back of this chase - but the South African quicks have started superbly. Mitch Marsh’s turn now.

1st over: Australia 2-0 (Warner 1, Finch 0) Target 119. Quick from Rabada to begin. Finch tries to advance but can’t make contact, so he retreats into his crease to the next offering, which spits past the outside edge. Beforehand, Warner got off the mark to cover. This is the ideal match-ups for South Africa early on with such a modest total on the board, up against two men in need of runs.

The players are back on the field. Warner, desperately out of form, is on strike to Rabada. Finch is with him; 119 to win. PLAY!


20th over: South Africa 118-9 (Rabada 19, Shamsi 0) Rabada can’t find the gap from the final ball but they get back for two with Shamsi putting in an excellent dive. With the exception of Markram, total misfire from South Africa’s batters but they’ve just about reached a run a ball. Shouldn’t be enough but Australia did struggle, albeit in very different conditions, to get to 120 in Bangladesh recently.

WICKET! Nortje c Finch b Starc 2 (South Africa 115-9)

A leading edge to cover, that’s the ends of Nortje with two balls left. Earlier in the over, Starc gave Rabada a low full toss and he muscled it over long-on for SIX - just South Africa’s second of the innings.

19th over: South Africa 106-8 (Rabada 9, Nortje 2) Before the over begins, we learn that everyone likes Foo Fighters, including both commentators and Namibia’s David Wiesse. “Dave Groll is the ultimate dude,” says Watto. No, Watto - you’re the ultimate dude. Back to Cummins: they can’t hit his change-ups and they can’t find the gaps against his pace. He finishes with 1/17 with 14 dots. Spot on.

18th over: South Africa 101-8 (Rabada 6, Nortje 2) Much better from Starc, landing his yorker a few times in the over - they aren’t getting those away. A wicket and just the three runs from the over.

Out of nowhere, Danny Morrison starts talking about Glenn Maxwell not having a very good IPL in 2020 - he’s got his talking points and he’s going to use them. Watto reminds him of his 2021 dominance.

“After getting used to not knowing how teams for the Hundred were put together it seems a throwback to watch national sides competing in the short format,” writes Ian Copestake. “Is taking time to adapt to the tired old divisions.” Fun, isn’t it?

WICKET! Markram c Maxwell b Starc 40 (South Africa 98-8)

Markram picks out Maxwell at deep midwicket. From the first ball of the over too, which really exposes the tail to Starc’s pace and swing.

17th over: South Africa 98-7 (Markram 40, Rabada 5) Bosh! Markram, against the flow of play, picks up Hazlewood over midwicket for a biiiig SIX! The first of the match, which highlights the extent to which Australia have been able to boss this so far. Rabada’s turn later in the over, slapping the big quick hard and straight for four more. They’ve left this a touch late but 120ish would at least be something to bowl to. Starc and Cummins to come.

Here’s the Maharaj run out, by the way. Wow.

💬 When things go bad, they can get really bad! 💬

A calamitous run-out sees #SouthAfrica's Maharaj dismissed - and leaves #Australia coach Langer elated! 😔😃#T20WorldCup | #AUSvSA 🇦🇺🇿🇦

📺 Watch live 👉
📱 Scorecard 👉

— Sky Sports Cricket (@SkyCricket) October 23, 2021

16th over: South Africa 86-7 (Markram 33, Rabada 1) South Africa look to have reached the point where batting out the overs will do the trick for them, and in turn, just three runs from the Zampa over. Danny Morrison really, really likes the spectator pens.

15th over: South Africa 83-7 (Markram 31, Rabada 0) Yikes, Cummins nails Rabada in the helmet when trying to get out of the way of a short one. They go through the concussion test in world-record time. Oh, and just one run from the over. “Not quite what the Rainbow Nation were looking for,” declares Danny Morrison.

WICKET! Maharaj run out (Maxwell/Wade) 0 (South Africa 83-7)

“Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god.” Sunny Gavaskar’s call of a chaotic run out, Markram declining the single and going back with Maxwell on the prowl but Maharaj was halfway down the wicket... and then he fell over. Dear me, that was grim stuff.

WICKET! Pretorius c Wade b Zampa 1 (South Africa 82-6)

A classic set-up! Pretorius totally misread the wrong’un first ball and Zampa followed it up with a legbreak temper outside the off-stump, duly edged through to Wade, who took it nicely moving to his right. Two wickets in the Zampa over; South Africa are in disarray.

14th over: South Africa 82-6 (Markram 30)

WICKET! Miller lbw b Zampa 16 (South Africa 80-5)

Very out: pitching leg, a wrong’un, smashing into middle. That’s Zampa’s most dangerous weapon and it gets him into the book.

IS MILLER LBW TO ZAMPA? Michael Gough says yes after the left-hander missed a sweep. The decision has been challenged. Stand by.

13th over: South Africa 77-4 (Markram 28, Miller 14) Finch turns to the immaculate Hazlewood, who took wickets with the first delivery of his first and second overs, and another nearly comes right away here when Wade throws the stumps down but Miller is just back. Six from it, no boundaries - this is drifting, and badly, for the Proteas.

“Morning Adam.” Brian Withington! Always a pleasure to see your name pop up. “The social distancing picket fence pens reminded me of the phrase ‘good fences make good neighbours’. It’s originally taken from the Robert Frost poem ‘Mending Wall’, published in 1914, and the words are attributed to a neighbour in the process of repairing a boundary wall. The poem has been a source of some controversy of interpretation over the years since, with its potential themes of nationalism, Cold War tensions, and immigration. The author raises his own doubts in the lines:

‘Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.’

With that context it probably won’t surprise you that, where I finished school in the USA, this was a poem we studied closely.

12th over: South Africa 71-4 (Markram 26, Miller 10) Finch sticks with spin, Maxwell spot on with his well-placed darts, always at the stumps. Ohh, very close to lbw, Markram saved by a tiny edge. Miller takes on the bowler after bunting out to midwicket - a direct hit and he was done; so close. Short and wide to finish, the only time he’s missed the mark, put away behind point by Markram. But four overs 1/24 from the fifth bowler is a wonderful result for Australia.

11th over: South Africa 63-4 (Markram 20, Miller 8) Zampa’s turn to rip through a 75-second over, just four runs added. Miller has to chance his hand here - there’s nothing gained by waiting.

10th over: South Africa 59-4 (Markram 19, Miller 5) Finch goes with Maxwell and it works just as planned, giving up just five singles - that’s huge for Australia, three of the four overs from their fifth bowler complete by the end of the tenth over, his figures 1/16. “Top notch bowling from the top knot,” notes Pat Rodgers. Indeed.

“Hi Adam.” Hello to a very happy Simon McMahon. “Just want to say, COME ON SCOTLAND!!! And COME ON ENGLAND!!! And COME ON EVERYONE!!! Can you tell I’m excited? Here’s to a great tournament. SUPER OVERS please!!!”

That’s the spirit. And yes, super overs every couple of days, please.

9th over: South Africa 54-4 (Markram 18, Miller 1) Starc is back and Markram is fine with that, nailing a cover drive early in the over, through the gap and to the rope. But the left-armer improves from there, nearly through with his inswinging yorker to finish.

“Morning Adam.” And to you, John Barnes. “Is this typical of the kind of crowds we can expect in the T20 World Cup? I watched the qualifiers and they seemed sparsely attended as well. I’m wondering if there are restrictions in place over there that’s limiting the atmosphere?” Unfortunately, yes, this will be the norm.


An agonising dismissal for De Kock as Hazlewood's delivery balloons up off the thigh pad and - eventually - back onto the stumps! 🎳#T20WorldCup #AUSvSA 🇦🇺🇿🇦

📺 Watch live 👉
📱 Scorecard 👉

— Sky Sports Cricket (@SkyCricket) October 23, 2021

WICKET! Klaasen c Smith b Cummins 13 (South Africa 46-4)

That’s a big blow: just as the partnership started to build, Cummins’ off-pace delivery finds Klaasen’s edge, pouched safely by Smith at backward point. Earlier in the over, he slotted a beautiful cover drive and looked ready to really fire up but that’s not to be today.

8th over: South Africa 46-4 (Markram 11)

7th over: South Africa 39-3 (Markram 9, Klaasen 8) The field goes back so Zampa comes on. But South Africa can’t afford to ease into the middle portion of the innings given how far behind they are and Klaasen pulls accordingly, bisecting the two fielders on the legside rope after picking the wrong’un. Ten off it - that’s better.

6th over: South Africa 29-3 (Markram 7, Klaasen 1) Cummins now; his first twist. He’s had a long break since the first half of the IPL, completing a pre-season with New South Wales. A wonderful shot from Markram to break the shackles after nine consecutive dots, slamming through cover from the balls of his feet. But just six from the over to complete the power play, Australia are well on top.

5th over: South Africa 23-3 (Markram 2, Klaasen 0) A wicket then five dots to Klaasen - extraordinary bowling Josh Hazlewood, who has 2/1 from his two overs so far. Finch has to keep him on.

The social-distancing pens are slightly mesmerising.

In case anyone wants to enforce social distancing on the hill at Adelaide Oval… 😂

— Kirsty Trimper (@ktrimpie) October 23, 2021

WICKET! de Kock b Hazlewood 7 (South Africa 23-3)

Oh no! de Kock gets into a tangle when looking to lap Hazlewood, the ball dropping from his body, slowly onto the woodwork. The big quick has struck with his first and seventh deliveries leaving South Africa in big early trouble. Finch can really turn the screws now.

4th over: South Africa 23-2 (de Kock 7, Markram 2) de Kock pulls hard and pulls well - South Africa’s first boundary since the first over of the match. But three dot balls from Maxwell too - doing a job.

3rd over: South Africa 17-2 (de Kock 2, Markram 1) Markram is off the mark down to third man first ball, another genuine edge, but de Kock can’t get off strike thereafter. They had to find room for Hazlewood; what a short-form bowler he’s turned himself into over the last couple of years. He went about five years between T20is to that point, and wasn’t even in the ODI World Cup squad in 2019.

Good news: the ICC aren’t posting clips but Sky Cricket are.

🎳 BIG SHOW BOWLS BAVUMA! 🎳#Australia spinner Maxwell strikes third ball as the #SouthAfrica skipper misses a straight one and falls for 12! 😱#T20WorldCup | #AUSvSA 🇦🇺🇿🇦

📺 Watch live 👉
📱 Scorecard 👉

— Sky Sports Cricket (@SkyCricket) October 23, 2021

WICKET! van der Dussen c Wade b Hazlewood 2 (South Africa 16-2)

Hazlewood first ball! Ever so conventional, the type of dismissal he’s made an art-form of in Test cricket. Just back of a length, hits the seam, caught van der Dussen on the crease who kissed it to Wade.

2nd over: South Africa 16-1 (de Kock 2, van der Dussen 2) Fantastic over from Maxwell, five runs and the wicket of Bavuma - just what Australia needed after South Africa’s busy start against Starc.

Hahaha the cricket ground DJ shouting GLENN, GLENN, GLENN, GLENN at the end of Maxi's successful over - very good, more please. #T20WorldCup

— Adam Collins (@collinsadam) October 23, 2021

WICKET! Bavuma b Maxwell 12 (South Africa 13-1)

MAXI! Finch throws the ball to his top-knotted tweaker and he crashes into the off-stump of the Proteas’ captain with his third delivery! Played for spin that wasn’t there, beaten on the outside.

1st over: South Africa 11-0 (Bavuma 11, de Kock 0) Nice movement straight away from the Starc back towards Bavuma, but he handles it well with a push through cover for two. The skipper follows it up with a beautiful cover drive, leaping onto the front foot and timing the pants off it for four. And he does it again - back to back boundaries, this time on the square drive! What a positive start. On comms, Steyn keeps saying “Starcy” instead of Starc - please stop.

The players are on the field. South Africa’s players take the knee - not sure if the Australians joined them? It’s Starc with the new ball, who has plenty of experience getting that white ball moving in World Cups. Bavuma is on strike, there with de Kock. PLAY!

National anthems. Suggests we are going to have them for every game of the tournament. Not for me. However, it does mean we get at least five renditions of South Africa’s banger, which can’t be a bad thing. They’re really belting it out too. Harder to get as emotionally involved in Advance Australia Fair, but they’re giving it a good go.

More importantly... is that a top knot on Glenn Maxwell?! Go on!!

“Adam.” Hello Andrew Benton. “There you are! How was Crete? And, what’s the weather today, any whisps of cloud forecast in Abu Dhabi? I’d guess both teams are used to playing in such conditions.”

Crete was glorious, thanks! We managed to snaffle the last of the warm weather, very much needed after a huge English summer. As for the conditions at Abu Dhabi, looks very UAE to me - the forecast says 33 and sticky, as I assume it reads pretty much every day.

Apologies in advance that I won’t be able to post wickets and big moments here from twitter. For reasons that nobody can understand (well, I can give a theory but I won’t) the ICC are only posting those highlights to instagram and facebook, which don’t embed here.

Don’t mind this 90s rave music they have playing on the host broadcast. Lean into that, I say - give me a montage to this later.

“World Cups are hard to win,” says Justin Langer in a montage about Australia’s battles at this tournament over the years. Noted.

“Good morning Adam from a disappointed Irishman,” writes Dean Kinsella. “I really get your complaint about the big boys and the little boys divide in this tournament but if there must be a pre-qualifying tournament, it has worked well to have it in the week before the tournament proper and in the same conditions. Hopefully the minnows (who have qualified) will have gained a bit of local experience and a bit of momentum before they play against the ‘upper echelons.”

I understand that perspective, thanks for sharing it. But surely the experience gained by playing against the best teams in the world in the format of the game with the most volatility makes sense? Back when 16 teams were in this comp, there were plenty of upsets.

Now a package on South Africa about their tortured time at World Cups over the years, both the 50 and 20 over variety. Quite good.

💬 "The one thing that we are missing is a World Cup."

The Proteas are all fired up ahead of the start of their #T20WorldCup 2021 campaign 🔥 #AUSvSA

— T20 World Cup (@T20WorldCup) October 23, 2021

Watto is on commentary. I repeat: Watto is on commentary. It’s all happening. He’s with Dale Steyn, who is wearing a Tony Greig hat.

And here are those teams - yep, Australia play both Hazlewood and Cummins alongside Starc, with Zampa the sole spinner.

Australia: Aaron Finch (c), David Warner, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade (wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood.

South Africa: Temba Bavuma (c), Quinton de Kock (wk), Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Heinrich Klaasen, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Keshav Maharaj, Anrich Nortje, Tabraiz Shamsi.

Australia have won the toss; they're bowling first

“It looks like a really good wicket,” says Aaron Finch of the decision - an easy one. A unexpected change too: Ashton Agar has been left out, so, Australia go in with an extra seamer? Full teams shortly.

It's the T20 World Cup! Welcome!

Allo, allo. Lovely to be with you for the opener of the T20 World Cup Proper. Don’t for a moment jump to the conclusion that I’m undermining the thrilling cricket played over the last week - quite the opposite. But if the ICC want to include 16 teams, which is absolutely right, they should all be in the main draw rather than running a de facto qualifier before the big boys rock up.

Okay, now that’s off my chest - it’s Australia and South Africa to begin what is to be known as the Super 12s stage - group 1, to be precise. It’s worth noting off the top that neither of these teams have won this competition in its previous six iterations, the Proteas coming in as the 5th ranked team and Aaron Finch’s team 7th.

It’s a point of fascination for many Australian fans that they have been so unsuccessful in the tournament previously known as the World T20. Scanning through the squad this time around, they look to have enough matchwinners on paper, but there remains something amiss with a dreadful recent record. This was reinforced when India gave them a hiding in the second warm-up game.

They did account for South Africa away from home in this format immediately before the pandemic, but that feels a lifetime ago - especially to Dave Warner, who is having a dreadful 2021. With Finch only just back from injury, their experienced combination at the top of the order are under the pump. A lot falls onto the shoulders of Glenn Maxwell, who arrives after a stellar IPL campaign for RCB.

Australia are set to go into the game with seven batters and four bowlers, meaning Mitch Marsh (who will bat three after an excellent winter tour of the the West Indies), Marcus Stoinis and Maxwell will need to make up four overs between them. That also means there will only be room for one of Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins to join Mitch Starc and the spinners Ashton Agar and Adam Zampa.

South Africa, by contrast, have been ticking over very nicely in 2021 having won nine of their last ten in this format then saluting in both warm-up games. The great news for Temba Bavuma is that he will have Tabraiz Shamsi at his disposal after passing a fitness test. The left-arm wrist spinner has bowled the house down this year, ranked No1 in the world, but only sent down four balls in the warm-up game against Pakistan before his groin played. But he’s good to go.

The big, beautiful Rassie van der Dussen was in the runs against Pakistan - he’s ready to explode in a big tournament like this. Supported by players of vast experience like Quinton de Kock up top and Kagiso Rabada with the new ball - not to mention the express pace of Anrich Nortje - they are clear favourites here.

Right, we’re ten minutes away from the toss at Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium - back with you then. Between times, drop me a line or ping me a tweet. It’s time for a World Cup! This should be fun.


Adam Collins

The GuardianTramp

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Australia beat New Zealand by eight wickets to win their first T20 World Cup – as it happened
Over-by-over report: A 92-run second-wicket partnership from David Warner and Mitchell Marsh set Australia up to win the T20 World Cup final against New Zealand

Tim de Lisle

14, Nov, 2021 @6:10 PM

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Australia and England renew acquaintance in tasty T20 World Cup appetiser | Geoff Lemon
The main course for these nations may still be the Ashes, but first is the small matter of a crunch 20-over clash in Dubai

Geoff Lemon

29, Oct, 2021 @7:00 PM

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Australia the clear underdogs as they face a Pakistan side firing on all cylinders | Geoff Lemon
Australia have the quality to beat any team but it will take something special against Babar Azam’s side in the T20 World Cup semi-final

Geoff Lemon

10, Nov, 2021 @4:30 PM

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David Warner is coming into form just as Australia need him | Geoff Lemon
The man who legitimised T20 in his homeland has had a lean spell but has sprung to life in time for the World Cup knockouts

Geoff Lemon

06, Nov, 2021 @10:39 PM

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Australia beat South Africa on the final ball in second Twenty20 international
Australia earned a thrilling final-ball victory over South Africa in Johannesburg, chasing down a target of 204 to win by five wickets and level the three-game series at 1-1

Guardian sport and Associated Press

06, Mar, 2016 @4:44 PM

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New Zealand take on Australia and history in T20 World Cup final | Geoff Lemon
If the Black Caps can end their poor form against Australia, the game they wanted least could also yield the sweetest victory

Geoff Lemon

13, Nov, 2021 @7:00 PM

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Australia thrash Bangladesh to stay in hunt for T20 World Cup semi-finals
Adam Zampa took 5-19 as Australia hammered Bangladesh at the T20 World Cup, reaching their target of 74 with eight wickets and 82 balls in hand

Simon Burnton in Dubai

04, Nov, 2021 @1:10 PM