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Australia possible playing XI for semi-final vs South Africa – Will they pick Marnus Labuschagne or Marcus Stoinis?

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Last Updated on 6 months by Charbel Coorey

Cricket News: A look at the possible playing XI for Australia in the big semi-final against South Africa – Stoinis or Labuschagne?

For the first time in this World Cup, Australia has a full squad of 15 players to choose from. As a result, the selectors face a selection headache for the semi-final showdown against South Africa at Eden Gardens, with a choice between Marnus Labuschagne and Marcus Stoinis for the final spot in the playing XI.

Labuschagne has had a decent tournament with the bat, hitting two half-centuries in his past four matches including an important 71 against England. Also, he has been a livewire in the field, inflicting two run outs against Bangladesh along with superb outfielding throughout the campaign. On the other hand, Stoinis, while he hasn’t bowled much or made significant scores with the bat, has the potential to deliver with his all-round ability.

Below is CricBlog’s predicted playing XI for Australia at Kolkata.

Australia possible playing XI for semi-final against South Africa at Eden Gardens Kolkata: 1. David Warner, 2. Travis Head, 3. Mitchell Marsh, 4. Steve Smith, 5. Marnus Labuschagne, 6. Josh Inglis (wk), 7. Glenn Maxwell, 8. Pat Cummins (c), 9. Mitchell Starc, 10. Adam Zampa, 11. Josh Hazlewood

From the match against Bangladesh where Mitch Marsh starred with a superb 177*, Mitchell Starc and Glenn Maxwell will slot straight in. Starc will come in for Abbott, but who Maxwell comes in for isn’t quite as straightforward.

Former Australia players Ricky Ponting and Shane Watson have called for Labuschagne to stay in the XI to provide some all-important stability in what could be helpful bowling conditions in Kolkata.

“He’s [Labuschagne] someone who has done a very good job for Australia throughout this World Cup, and as well Marcus Stoinis hasn’t set this World Cup alight yet,” Watson said. “Marnus Labuschagne, with the Test skills, he’s got the ability to be able to handle a moving ball. There is a chance that Australia will have to bat second under lights, and he’s done a very good job of that throughout this tournament.”

“I probably would [retain Labuschagne]. I mean even today we’ve seen Australia have gone to Mitchell Marsh’s bowling before they used Stoinis,” said Ponting, who is a known fan of the latter.

The all-rounder has not bowled much in this tournament, sending down just 19 overs, taking four wickets at an economy of 7.53. However, coach Andrew McDonald previously said Stoinis’ role with the ball is important for Australia. Also, the selection may depend on conditions.

“We’ve seen what Stoin’s been able to do with four players out after the first 10 (overs),” McDonald said. “His ability to bowl a heavy ball, bring energy to the crease, and he’s got some different defensive skills as well. We feel as though he can complement at certain stages the frontline bowling.”

Fox Cricket put out the question of dropping Steve Smith for the big clash. However, that would be quite the move. Sure, Smith hasn’t been at his usual best, but his record in ODI World Cup knockout matches is second to none. In four innings, Smith has scored 311 runs at an average of 103.66 with three half-centuries and one century.

Australia come into the semi-final off the back of seven straight wins. Their last defeat was against South Africa at Lucknow, where they lost by 134 runs. In fact, the Proteas have beaten Australia in 16 of the last 20 meetings between the sides, including the last four by margins of over 100 runs.

Given South Africa’s prowess batting first and struggles batting second, Australia’s best chance seems to be to bat first and get runs on the board to defend. Indeed, time will tell in what shapes up to be a fascinating encounter.

Charbel Coorey
Charbel Cooreyhttps://cricblog.net
Charbel is the owner & founder of cricblog.net, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has also been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at charbelcoorey@cricblog.net.

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