T20 World Cup

Brett Lee confident Australia 'can do it all' as Proteas pose 'massive threat'

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Former Australian fast bowler Brett Lee (AFP/Getty)
Former Australian fast bowler Brett Lee (AFP/Getty)

Former Australian great Brett Lee is confident that Aaron Finch's side can defeat the Proteas in their T20 World Cup opener on Saturday.

Australia and South Africa, who are both chasing their first T20 world title, get the Super 12 stage under way at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

Follow LIVE | T20 World Cup - Proteas v Australia

Australia head into the World Cup not having the best of form, losing their recent T20 series to the West Indies 4-1 and slumped by the same result against Bangladesh.

Finch's side narrowly defeated New Zealand in their opening warm-up and then lost to India earlier in the week.

However, Lee is optimistic for the five-time ODI World Cup champions and admits there is an expectation on Australia to lift their first T20 title.

"This is the one format of the game Australia's men have not succeeded in at an ICC tournament and we Australians are hungry for it," Lee told the ICC website in the week.

"For me, the expectation is that Australia will go and win the tournament. I know they might be high expectations, but if you don't go and set the bar very high, you are not going to succeed. 

"The build-up has not always been smooth for Australia, but it's amazing what an early win can do for confidence and South Africa pose a massive threat."

Meanwhile, the Proteas are on a streak of seven successive T20 international wins, encompassing series victories against West Indies, Ireland and Sri Lanka - all achieved away from home. 

Lee believes that the Proteas give the Australians a "real-hot crack" as they continue their cricketing rivalry in the global showpiece.

"Players come and go, greats come and go. But when you play against a nation like South Africa, the respect is always there. We know they have some match-winners and that is where the T20 game will suit them," said Lee.

"They have guys who can take the game away within four or five overs and it will be a real test. 

"I think South Africa are closer to the Australian culture than any other nation, in terms of sport. New Zealand are obviously closer geographically but South Africans are abrasive on the sports field. They are always in your face and I love that, it's great. It is also why they have been so successful in all formats. I know they will give Australia a red-hot crack. 

"I'm confident Australia can do it and it all starts against South Africa - a brilliant match to start what will hopefully be a brilliant tournament for the Baggy Greens."

Play starts at 12:00 SA time.

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