T20 series preview: South Africa v Australia

Australia

The Test series between these two sides will be fresh in the minds of the fans, but not so much for the players, given most of the Australia Test side has gone home and the focused has switched to the World Twenty20.

The Test series between these two sides will be fresh in the minds of the fans, but not so much for the players, given most of the Australia Test side has gone home and the focused has switched to the World Twenty20.

The Aussies are helmed by George Bailey, back in charge after missing out on a Test spot, and will hope that while the players are different, the overall victorious mood remains after the exciting win in Cape Town.

Only Shane Watson, David Warner and Brad Haddin remain in South Africa from that team, with Warner the most likely to cause some damage in the three T20s, given that's where he started out before learning proper, MCC-approved technique.

The visiting bowling attack is a far cry from the five-dayers, with Mitchell Johnson rested, Ryan Harris sent home for knee surgery and the spin duties transferred from Nathan Lyon to veteran Brad Hogg and rookie James Muirhead.

A welcome return is all-rounder James Faulkner, who will prove very handy in all areas, adding depth to the batting and a fiery temperament to the bowling department, alongside the more sedate Mitchell Starc and Nathan Coulter-Nile.

The Proteas will also watch with trepidation as opening bat Aaron Finch warms up his huge shoulders, an even more explosive batsman than Warner in this format, watching game tapes against England with keen eyes.

The hosts are without paceman Dale Steyn for the first two games at least, after he injured his hamstring in Cape Town, and also have to wait on the fitness of all-rounder Wayne Parnell and potential debutant Beuran Hendricks. Kyle Abbott, with one T20 to his name, has been brought in for Steyn.

The side will be skippered by Faf du Plessis, as always in this format, while AB de Villiers, the ODI skipper and tipped to take over the Test side, will play purely as a batsman and hand the gloves to Quinton de Kock.

Both teams will be using these games as warm-up and experimentations ahead of the trip to Bangladesh, and if the Aussies win the series three-nil they will leap above South Africa, currently in third place, on the rankings.

<b>Key Men</b><br>The Proteas will look to middle-order batsman David Miller, who has been in blistering form for the Dolphins in recent weeks. He doesn't have a T20 fifty yet, but if the top order falters, he will need to find his IPL brain and let rip.

The Aussies will be relying on Cameron White for some big scores, after his sterling effort against England where he was the top scorer and helped them to a three-nil series win. He's also fresh as a daisy after a bit of a break, though will he open?

<b>Last Five Head-To-Head Results</b><br>WT20 2012: Australia won by eight wickets in Colombo<br>2011: South Africa won by three wickets in Johannesburg<br>2011: Australia won by five wickets in Cape Town<br>2009: South Africa won by 17 runs in Centurion<br>2009: South Africa won by four wickets in Johannesburg

<b>Squads</b><br><i>South Africa:</i> Faf du Plessis (capt), Kyle Abbott, Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock (wk), AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Beuran Hendricks, Imran Tahir, David Miller, Albie Morkel, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Aaron Phangiso, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.

<i>Australia:</i> George Bailey (capt), Daniel Christian, Nathan Coulter-Nile, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Brad Haddin (wk), Moises Henriques, Brad Hodge, Brad Hogg, Glenn Maxwell, James Muirhead, Mitchell Starc, David Warner, Shane Watson, Cameron White.

<b>Fixtures</b><br>First T20: 9 March in Porth Elizabeth<br>Second T20: 12 March in Durban<br>Third T20: 14 March in Centurion

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