International cricket has moved across the Swan River, but Perth’s X factor remains intact. It will be fast. And jump too. Rohit Sharma and Rahul Dravid took to the center under overcast skies and found a green pitch under the covers. According to the forecast, it will be cloudy and rain is possible on Sunday. The pitch is sweating under the covers, but with a double strike on Sunday, it should wear off by the time Sharma goes to the toss. Hence, there may not be much lateral movement.
But the jump can be steep. Of all the Australian locations, Optus offers the strongest boost. As comparable venues such as Geelong or Carrara Oval do not host World Cup matches, the margin is significant. South Africa has taken note of this. “What we’ve seen in the last few games is that it’s been a really good wicket. Lots of pace and bounce,” said fast bowler Henrich Northier, who has bowled the fastest deliveries in the last two years.
“I still don’t know what will happen, how it will happen. It might be a little different. It could be in a different lane and it’s going to play differently, but we’re just trying to hold our territories and try to figure out what’s a good length and a good line on the day. to that.”
A good length at Optus sends the ball an average of 0.91m compared to 0.83 in Melbourne, 0.82 in Sydney and 0.81 in Adelaide. This means that if a batsman wants to play higher, he has to be careful on the front foot. Any backfoot kick will force more bounce, making it a bit more difficult to control. India looked ready for the challenge. “It looks like a good wicket,” India coach Vikram Rathore said on Saturday. “Melbourne was tough, but from what we’ve seen it looks better, with a more consistent pace and a more consistent bounce. Let’s see how it goes.”
Fast players should not be fooled on such fields. As Northje says, “doing nothing fancy.” “Try to stick to our fundamentals and limitations – take as many wickets as possible, of course, but limit the runs as much as possible.” Northje is backing South Africa’s bowlers to face India. “We see ourselves as one of the best rushing attacks,” he said. “We have great diversity. We cover a lot of bases with our offense. As a rushing attack, we’re going to go against any team and do whatever we can on that day to get over the line.”
It will not hurt India. Having spent more than a week in Perth before the tournament starts, they are expected to know what it takes to score points here. The fast bowling line-up of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh, Mohammed Shami and Hardik Pandya is capable of stirring up South Africa. Familiarity is also a big factor as this will be the ninth T20I between the two nations in 2022. On paper, India have the upper hand as they have a better record this year and have outplayed South Africa at times. But South Africa had a very different shot at the T20 World Cup.
A look at the form of Riley Rossouw – one of South Africa’s greatest batsmen – confirms this. He scored his first T20I hundred earlier this month in Indore. His hundred against Bangladesh in Sydney made South Africa only the second side after New Zealand to score 200 or more in this tournament. In Perth, the conditions may call for a cautious approach, something India have adopted in both games so far.
With rain not threatening India’s games as predicted, they will want to win as much as possible. A win over South Africa could effectively place them as group leaders, but another win would cement it very well. But South Africa, who had to share points with Zimbabwe and are yet to play Pakistan, need a win to stay in the qualifying race. “Other games may be closed,” Northier said. “We can take it easy on ourselves by trying to win all our games. We can’t wait for the other rained out games.”
Pakistan, who have lost the last two balls, can’t really answer their fate. If India win, Pakistan will remain in contention but will have to beat South Africa, the Netherlands and Bangladesh