Two of the tournament’s most fearsome fast-bowling units, best-equipped spin arsenals, and powerful batting orders will face off in the first match of the T20 World Cup Super 12 stage in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
It is also a match featuring two sides with very different form lines and contrasting levels of outward expectation.
With the likes of AB de Villiers, Dale Steyn and Faf du Plessis no longer in the squad, South Africa enter the tournament without the regular media hype that follows them going into ICC events despite the likes of Quinton de Kock, Kagiso Rabada and co.
Australia conversely have seen their stocks rise notably since confirming a squad that includes the ilk of Glenn Maxwell, Aaron Finch, Warner, Starc, Smith and Pat Cummins.
At 12am (SA time), the two teams commence their campaigns and in truth, it is the Proteas who should be favourites in the match if form means anything.
They’re currently on a run of seven straight T20I wins on top of taking out both their warm-up matches ahead of today’s game. Only Bangladesh have won as many T20Is this year as South Africa (11).
On the other end of the spectrum, Australia have won just four of their 15 T20Is this year, suffering series losses in New Zealand, the West Indies and Bangladesh.
Despite that, it’s hard to look at their squad and not be impressed. There’s no doubt that if they click, they can go all the way.
What is clear is that neither team can really afford to slip up in this match. With games to come against world No 1 England, reigning champions the West Indies and battle-hardened Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, teams can ill-afford to miss out on points in a group featuring five Test members.
Australia possible XI: David Warner, Aaron Finch (c), Mitchell Marsh, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Mathew Wade (wk), Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins/Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa.
South Africa possible XI: Quinton de Kock, Temba Bavuma (c), Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Heinrich Klaasen, Wiaan Mulder, Kagiso Rabada, Keshav Maharaj, Anrich Nortje/Lungi Ngidi, Tabraiz Shamsi.