Wednesday, 19 November 2014

SA vs Australia – the ultimate contest

Every South African cricket lover knows that the matches between South Africa and Australia are either the best or worst ones to watch. There is no middle ground, no run-in-the-mill "let me see what else is on TV because this is so boring" kind of match. Games between these proud, sports-obsessed nations are always exciting and memorable. 

You may remember watching for hours with eyes transfixed on the screen, ignoring your tummy moaning for food, as JP Duminy (166) and Dale Steyn (76) put on a ninth-wicket partnership of 180 to turn the fortunes of a Test match in Melbourne in 2008. Or you may remember the time Allan Donald dropped his bat and was run out in the 1999 Cricket World Cup semi-final. 

The contest between SA and Australia has always been heated. Here Proteas batsman Hashim Amla plays a ball from Australian bowler Nathan Coulter-Nile. Photo taken from

Yes I am bringing to attention the nightmare of how we tied with Australia but did not progress in the world cup because the Aussies finished higher in the Super Sixes stage, all because Donald dropped his bat and did not start running early enough to score us the winning run. Indeed, the ferocity of the contest between the nations goes back to the famous 1969-70 tour in SA, which SA won 4–0, through the likes of Barry Richards and Graeme Pollock.

With the current One Day International (ODI) series between the teams at 2–1 to Australia with two matches to go, we can expect the rest of the series to be exhilarating. The last two games will be played on 21 and 23 November. The current series includes mini-contests: Dale Steyn (SA) and Mitchell Johnson (AUS) will be gunning for the unofficial title of best bowler in the series, by taking the most wickets. 

AB de Villiers will look to score many runs against Australia in the current ODI series.

This while Glenn Maxwell (AUS) and David Miller (SA), who play together for Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League (IPL), will want to see who finishes with more runs and the highest strike rate. India are currently rated the best ODI team in the world by the International Cricket Council (ICC), with 117 points. SA are second with 115 points, and Australia are third with 114 points. A series win for either the Proteas or the Aussies could put the team at the top of the table.