Australia “A” will go into tFriday’s Coca-Cola Challenge tri-series final with South Africa “A” at Harare Sports Club carrying the favourites’ tag having won all their matches in the round-robin stage.
The Aussies won both matches between the South Africans during the round-robin phase and will head into Friday’s match the more confident side.
South Africa “A” only managed to book their place to the final following a 17-run victory over Zimbabwe XI in the final match of the round-robin stage on Wednesday.
However the South Africans must have been encouraged from the last meeting between the two sides in which the Aussies sneaked home by one wicket with one ball to spare on Tuesday last week.
Australia “A” has several players with senior international experience, players like skipper Tim Paine, aggressive opener David Warner and pace bowler John Hastings, who has been impressive with the new ball for the Aussies.
Some of the players in the Australian team would also want to continue doing well to bring themselves into contention for the senior side ahead of the tour of Sri Lanka next month.
However, in 30-year-old skipper Jacques Rudolph, the aggressive Roelof van der Merwe and the seam pair of Vernon Philander and Craig Alexander, South Africa “A” also has some potential match winners.
Saturday’s match is likely to be Rudolph’s last on the continent as he was yesterday said to be returning to Yorkshire in the UK later this month as an overseas player as the county looks to avoid relegation from the first division.
Martyn Moxon, Yorkshire’s director of professional cricket, said: “Jacques is a hugely respected and popular player and we have missed his contribution in all forms of the game this season.
“The entire club is very pleased to welcome him back and we look forward to his runs lifting the team in the remaining matches.”
No doubt the left-hander would want to leave on a high after his 98 against Zimbabwe XI last week and what a send-off it would be if he can lead his country to victory on Friday.
Another player to look out for in the South African “A” team is 21 year old left hander Rilee Rossouw – another aspiring Proteas – who scored a fluent match winning 92 off 93 balls in the 17 run victory against Zimbabwe XI.