From Loots Bosman to Damian Martin, from Garnett Kruger to Stuart Clark, from Vaughn van Jaarsveld to Cameron White – South Africa versus Australia have featured some interesting matchups in T20I cricket over the years, writes ANDRE HUISAMEN.
And, the upcoming three-match international series is perfectly poised for another cracking opportunity to add to excitement of this format.
In total, the two teams have faced each other 18 times in T20Is with only one encounter not yielding a result.
Unfortunately, the success scale tips in favour of Australia with 11 victories against the seven of the Proteas, despite majority of the matches being played in South Africa.
Interestingly enough, from all the six T20 World Cups that have taken place since the tournament’s inception in 2007, the two teams’ paths have only crossed once in the showpiece – at the 2012 edition in Sri Lanka when the Aussies beat the Proteas by eight wickets in their Super Eight clash.
The first encounter between them was back in 2006 when 20 overs a side was still very fresh on the scene and a series only consisted of a single match.
The South African team for that match featured names such as Boeta Dippenaar, Kruger, Monde Zondeki and now head coach Mark Boucher, while Martin, Clark and James Hopes were some of the players for the opposition.
Australia won the clash in Brisbane, while South Africa claimed victory in the follow-up match in Johannesburg a year later.
In 2009 Australia won a two-match T20I series 2-0 on home soil after suffering defeat by South Africa in both the Test and ODI series.
It was in that first T20I at the MCG that a young David Warner made his debut for Australia and became the first player since 1877 to be selected for an Australia team without having played a single first-class match.
But, again the Proteas struck back in the follow-up series, claiming victories in Johannesburg and Centurion for a 2-0 win.
Since then Australia have dominated the head-to-heads with one series ending in a 1-1 draw back in 2011.
In 2014 they won back-to-back series, the first in South Africa at the beginning of the year and the second in Australia a few months later.
And, in 2016, they again walked away as victors from a series in South Africa having won the three-match schedule 2-1.
The last time South Africa and Australia contested a T20I was in 2018 when the Proteas won a rain-affected one-off encounter by 21 runs in the town of Carrara on the Australian Gold Coast.
Chris Morris and Tabraiz Shamsi starred for South Africa with the ball that day, while Faf du Plessis and David Miller delivered with the bat.
A series win over Australia this time around will do more than just improve South Africa’s record in this format, but also provide a much-needed first series win for Boucher as coach.
The series gets under way on Friday in Johannesburg with the first of the three T20I matches before the ODI series commences in Paarl next week Saturday.
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