The Super 12 round of cricket’s T20 World Cup starts in the United Arab Emirates on Saturday with holders West Indies taking on 2016 runners-up England in the evening match after Australia and South Africa, both chasing their first T20 World title, get the stage under way in the afternoon.
Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Scotland and surprise package Namibia have joined the world’s top eight teams in the second round, with the 12 teams divided into two groups.
Australia will look to David Warner to get them off to a flying start. A proven match-winner, Warner has endured a miserable time in the format recently. He was dropped by his Sunrisers Hyderabad team at the recently concluded Indian Premier League (IPL) championship, also played in the UAE.
Warner has not played an international T20 this year while, in 2020, he made just 186 runs.
“I’m backing Dave’s [Warner] ability. I’m backing his judgement,” said Australia skipper Aaron Finch. “I think, if you look at his World Cup history, he’s just bloody good. Would he have liked more runs? Absolutely. Everyone would like more runs all the time.
“He’s one of the greatest players that Australia has ever produced, and I’ve got no doubts that come Game 1 he’ll be up and firing and ready to go.”
Warner has scored more runs in T20s against South Africa than any other country with 457 from 14 matches. His average is a commendable 35.35.
South Africa are without AB de Villiers, who confirmed his retirement from international cricket earlier in the year, and former captain Faf du Plessis, who was available but not selected.
However, the team is on a streak of seven successive T20 international wins, encompassing series victories against West Indies, Ireland and Sri Lanka – all achieved away from home.