Not so long ago, I worked out South Africa’s path to the semi-finals, and it had this as the danger game, their final hurdle. As it turned out, South Africa fell a distance behind that, not only losing to New Zealand in a final over thriller, but also falling badly in their match against Pakistan.
That doesn’t mean that South Africa can’t win so much as their momentum is well below Australia’s. If we took these two teams and ignored their respective momentum and the state of the tournament, they might have a very close battle. The reality is that a win here would guarantee Australia top spot and a comparatively easy semi-final against New Zealand while a loss may mean they finish second and have to face the in-form England. That is more important than South Africa worrying about finishing eighth or seventh.
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Five Fearless Predictions:
(1) Australia will win
It sounds obvious but South Africa are a genuine chance, if they can get over their depression, but even then, with Australia’s momentum so high it is hard to imagine South Africa winning. They might get close but there’s so many reasons why they won’t win. They might but it’s unlikely.
(2) David Warner will fire
He’s been one of Australia’s best players, along with Aaron Finch and Mitchell Starc, and looks set for a big one here.
(3) Aaron Finch will fire
Predicting two openers to fire means a big opening partnership, and that could be what South Africa is looking at, especially if Australia bat first.
(4) Mitchell Starc will fire
He is the leading wicket taker by some margin now and expect him to surge towards his 2015 player of the tournament form, and perhaps try to go back to back and upset Bangladesh’s Shakib al Hasan, who otherwise looks certain to win the award.
(5) Rassie van der Dussen might do well
He’s been the one shining light for South Africa, the one who looks likely to do well. It probably won’t be enough, though.