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Not David Warner’s! But Ab De Villiers Believes This Batter’s Wicket Will Be Most Crucial For South Africa

AB de Villiers has pinpointed the crucial wicket of Steve Smith as the linchpin of the impending clash between Australia and South Africa on October 12 in Lucknow.

Both teams had contrasting starts to their ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 campaign. The Proteas secured a high-scoring victory over Sri Lanka while the Aussies succumbed to defeat against India in Chennai.

Steve Smith, who was the highest run-scorer for Australia in their loss to India, boasts a commendable record against South Africa. In the 21 matches he has played against the Proteas, Smith has amassed 684 runs at an average of over 40, including two centuries. AB de Villiers, writing on the ICC’s website, emphasized the importance of early wickets in unsettling the Australian team, even if they appear somewhat fragile following their loss to India.

De Villiers recognizes that a wounded Australian team can be exceptionally dangerous, making it imperative for South Africa to apply early pressure. He stated, “It might sound obvious, but Steve Smith’s wicket will be the most important. He holds everything together for Australia and if we can get him out early, I am confident we can get the job done,”

AB De Villiers Acknowledged The Role Of Bowlers

AB De Villiers acknowledged that while the focus has been primarily on the batters, the bowlers will play a vital role if South Africa aspires to be considered legitimate contenders. He pointed out that the absence of Anrich Nortje due to injury is a significant blow and places added responsibility on Kagiso Rabada to lead the bowling attack.

“All the focus has been on the batters, but this is a huge test for the bowling attack if South Africa wants to be seen as real contenders, especially without Anrich Nortje – no one knows how to get it done at World Cups like Australia,”

De Villiers revealed his conversation with Rabada, stating, “The loss of Nortje to injury is a real blow and means there is extra pressure on Kagiso Rabada to lead the attack. I spoke to him last week, and he is determined to step up to the plate and lead by example as one of the best bowlers in the world.”

As South Africa gears up to face Australia, the focus is firmly on seizing early opportunities, intending to dismantle the linchpin, Steve Smith, while also recognizing the crucial role their bowlers must play to emerge as strong contenders in the tournament. The two teams will face each other on 12th October at the Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow.

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