Monday, June 20, 3am AEST, Kensington Oval, West Indies, watch on Fox Sports.
Tri Series standings after four games:
South Africa – 2-2 (10 points)
Australia – 2-2 (nine points)
West Indies – 2-2 (eight points)
Australia: $1.76 @ Sportsbet.com.au
South Africa: $2.07
WITH Aussie opener David Warner out for the rest of the West Indies tri series, someone had to step up.
And it is little surprise Usman Khawaja has hopped into Warner’s opening spot alongside Aaron Finch and handled himself with aplomb.
After Warner smacked a ton against the South Africans, it was revealed he suffered a fractured index finger during the match and would not play in the rest of the series.
The T20 superstar, after hitting 59 of 71 balls in a win over the South Africans last week, slotted into the opening role to replace Warner against the West Indies.
He proceeded to partner with captain Steve Smith in a brilliant 170 run stand for the third wicket, eventually dismissed just two runs shy of his maiden one day international century.
His superb 98 came of 123 balls and featured three fours and four sixes.
It was not enough to get the Aussies a win though, with the Windies fighting back against their 7/265 to take the points by four wickets, finishing on 6/266.
Khawaja is the favourite to score the most runs for Australia against South Africa in the early hours of Monday morning, with sportsbet.com.au rating him a $4 chance to go back to back.
It’s little wonder why.
Khawaja, at 29, has rejuvenated his international career, with brilliant efforts in both the Test and T20 realms.
The one dayers are his final frontier – he has only played 10 of them and he clearly has a thirst for more.
“When I was younger I was always pigeon-holed as a four-day player,” he said.
“It frustrated me a lot.
”I just wanted to play for Australia in as many forms as I could and I’ve played for Australia in every single form now.
“I always had great ambitions to play one-day cricket for Australia and I knew T20 cricket was a little bit further away, probably seven years ago.
”I worked my backside off to get to where I am now.
“A lot of people don’t see what happens behind the scenes.
“They just see you starting to play well and doing things and they just think it just happened out of nowhere, but it never works that way.
”Unless you’ve actually seen other people do it or been through it yourself, you don’t realise how much effort actually goes into getting from where you were five years ago to where you are now.“
Khawaja will have some stiff competition in the top run scorer market for Australia, with gun opener Aaron Finch looking to bounce back from a poor one against the Windies.
The top order bull will be baying for blood after his first ball duck against the Windies and we reckon he will be looking to find some of the form that saw him score 72 off 103 balls in a lone hand against the South Africans earlier this month.
He is $5 to post the best score of the game for the Aussies and we reckon it is out of the two openers.
We’re sticking with Khawaja because his form stacks up better than any one else’s, but don’t be surprised if Finch turns it on.
As far as the South Africans are concerned, star Hashim Amla whacked yet another century and is the skinny 43.75 favourite at Sportsbet.
Against the Windies, Amla was at it again, smashing 13 boundaries on his way to 110 off 99 balls.
He already has a 60 against the Aussies and, for so long, he has been a thorn in their side.
This time will be no different, especially in the wake of some punters saying the Proteas’ opener might just be up there with the great one day cricketers of all time.
He has 225 runs at 56 in the series – more than any other batsman.
Startlingly, no player has scored centuries with more regularity in the one day games history and he already sports seventh spot in the short form’s total runs record.
His career average of 52.26 gives him the fourth best one day international average in world cricket.
He’s our pick to lead the South Africans again.
Top run scorer markets
Steven Smith ($4.20)
Aaron Finch ($5)
George Bailey ($5.50)
Glenn Maxwell ($7.50)
Mitchell Marsh ($8.50)
Travis Head ($10)
Matthew Wade ($19)
James Faulkner ($31)
Nathan Coulter-Nile ($51)
Adam Zampa ($76)
Josh Hazlewood ($101)
Mitchell Starc ($101)
Scott Boland ($101)
Nathan Lyon ($101)
Quinton de Kock ($4.50)
AB de Villiers ($4.50)
Dean Elgar ($5)
Francois du Plessis ($5)
Rilee Rossouw ($5.50
JP Duminy ($8.50
Chris Morris ($10)
Farhaan Behardien ($11)
Wayne Parnell ($26)
Kyle Abbott ($36)
Imran Tahir ($101)
Tabraiz Shamsi ($101)
Kagiso Rabada ($101)
Aaron Phangiso ($101)
Morne Morkel ($101)
Odd provided by sportsbet.com.au
What a series we have on our hands at the moment. Just one point separated the Aussies in second from the South Africans and then the Windies are just one point further back. Each team sports a 2-2 record. And this one feels like a toss of the coin, especially with the two teams splitting their match ups so far. The Aussies have some decisions to make, with The Big Show Glenn Maxwell keen for a recall, and coach Steve Smith potentially missing because of injury. Wait for the sides to come out, but we reckon they will be ok. Both sides have a star studded line up and neither will be giving any quarter, so we are predicting a high scoring, but tight finish, with the Aussies just taking the points. Khawaja is in great form and don’t expect another duck from Finch. Those two will be primed at the top of the order and should finish with more runs than the South African pair, provided they are awake.