World Cup Preview: South Africa take on Australia in clash of table toppers

Ellyse Perry and Marizanne Kapp will be key for their teams. © Getty Images

Match 21 of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2022 will see table toppers Australia take on unbeaten South Africa at the Basin Reserve in Wellington on Tuesday.

While Australia have already assured themselves of a semis berth, the Proteas would want to join them by winning this match and not leaving anything to chance.

What’s at stake

The winner of this match will in all likelihood go on to top the group stage and face the fourth ranked qualifier in the semifinals. Apart from that, both these teams might face each other in the knockouts again and the winner of this match might just take a lot of confidence into the potential clash later.

A first for South Africa

Australia have never lost to South Africa in 14 previous matches. South Africa, on the other hand, are currently ranked second in the world and have been among the most consistent sides over the last World Cup cycle.

Their pace pack can lay a claim to being the best in the world and after exiting at the semifinal stage at multiple occasions in the past, they have set their sights on going all the way this time around.

ALSO READ: Marizanne Kapp’s nerves of steel fuel unbeaten South Africa

Ellyse Perry vs. Marizanne Kapp

Both Ellyse Perry and Marizanne Kapp have had their fair share of injury troubles over the past couple of seasons. Both of them also have very strong claims to being the best all-rounders in the world currently and have been the difference-makers in more than one match for their teams in the tournament so far.

Kapp, in particular, has been key for South Africa with both bat and ball in the absence of the talismanic Dane van Niekerk. After being dropped from the T20I squad at the beginning of the summer, Perry has gone from strength to strength, though she had an off day in the last match against India, where she was expensive with the ball and struggled for fluency with the bat.

ALSO READ: Darcie Brown: Not just another tearaway fast bowler

What they said

“I think towards this back end of this competition, you want to gather as much momentum as you can leading into the semis and potentially a final. So we’ve shown that we’ve got the depth within the squad to make sure we’re pushing the letter a bit and competing as a world-class team.”

–  Beth Mooney on what Australia are focusing on in the last two group stage matches

“It’s actually one of the sides that I guess we should be most prepared for because a lot of our girls have spent quite a lot of time playing against and in the same team as a lot of their players. But I guess it goes both ways. I guess we might know their games a bit better, but they might know ours a bit better as well.”

– Laura Wolvaardt is not too concerned about not having played against Australia in almost five years

Players to watch out for:

Megan Schutt: Australia’s leading pacer has made plenty of improvements in her bowling in the last five years. However, she came in for a fair bit of tap in the last match against India, with Harmanpreet Kaur dealing harshly with her, just like she had in the last World Cup. Schutt’s record against South Africa isn’t the best but her testing inswing will be key to rein in Lizelle Lee and Laura Wolvaardt in the Powerplay.

Mignon du Preez: Former captain, sensational fielder, team player. Even when she’s not scoring runs, du Preez brings a lot to the team, which is probably why she became the first South African player to play 150 ODIs in their last game against New Zealand. She has had a horrid time in this World Cup so far, but South Africa would want their middle order bulwark to find her range before the knockouts.

Numbers:

Head to head: Played 14 matches, Australia 13 – 0 South Africa; 1 Tie

  • Marizanne Kapp and Shabnim Ismail are the only two South African bowlers to take 100 ODI wickets away from home.
  • Ellyse Perry’s 12 wickets are the joint-most by an Australian bowler with Cathryn Fitzpatrick vs South Africa.
  • Lizelle Lee is the only South African batter to score a ODI hundred against Australia.

Predicted XI:

Australia: Rachael Haynes, Alyssa Healy (wk), Meg Lanning (c), Ellyse Perry, Beth Mooney, Tahlia McGrath, Ashleigh Gardner, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Megan Schutt, Darcie Brown

South Africa: Lizelle Lee, Laura Wolvaardt, Lara Goodall, Sune Luus (c), Mignon du Preez, Marizanne Kapp, Chloe Tryon, Trisha Chetty (wk), Shabnim Ismail, Masabata Klaas, Ayabonga Khaka