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ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 POST MATCH – South Africa vs Australia (Semi-Finals)

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Australia advanced to the World Cup final against India after a nail-biting three-wicket victory over South Africa in the second semi-final. Despite David Miller’s strong 101, Australia bowled out the Proteas on a below-par 212, but the pursuit was not as easy for the five-time world champions.

Travis Head (62 off 48) guided Australia’s rousing start, but a mid-innings stumble put them in trouble. However, Cummins (3/34) and Starc (3/51) kept their composure as Australia finished 48th over.

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The Rundown: South Africa vs Australia

South Africa fought valiantly but fell short in a knockout game, unable to shake off their ‘chokers’ moniker as a nervous Australia crept to a three-wicket victory in the second semi-final to set up the World Cup’s championship match against undefeated host team India in Ahmedabad on Sunday.

After a terrific start in a short pursuit of 213, the Aussies plummeted but recovered strongly due to a great battle from their middle-order batsmen to escape the prison at Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

Australia advanced to their eighth World Cup final appearance with the victory, while South Africa suffered their fifth painful semi-final loss.

Australia’s Tenacity Proves Unshakable in Pursuit

David Miller endured great pressure on his way to an outpost 101 on a challenging turner, leading South Africa to a battling 212 after dropping their first four wickets for 24 runs.

It was a modest score, but the Proteas made the most of it with a strong bowling effort until Australia, like they typically do, kept their spirits up to win in 47.2 overs.

After decades of being labeled as the chokers, South Africa fell short in another ICC knockout game, but they managed to win the contest right down to the brink.

They blew up a total of five difficult catching opportunities, appearing to be crucial in a low-scoring contest. Pat Cummins (14 off 29) and Mitchell Starc (16 off 38) of Australia overcame some tight moments to lead their side to victory.

The victory extended Australia’s amazing streak in the competition, which began with defeats against India and South Africa. Australia started the chase aggressively, with Travis Head (62 off 48) and opener David Warner (29 off 18) scoring 60 runs within the first six overs.

Hazlewood’s Dismissal of de Kock Triggers South Africa’s Collapse

Aiden Markram (1/23) and Keshav Maharaj (1/24) got the South African spinners into the game, eliminating David Warner and ending Head’s stint in the middle.

Tabraiz Shamsi (2/42) then made things worse by getting two important wickets from Maruns Labuschagne and threatening Glenn Maxwell to liven up the match.

Australia were 137/5 with Steve Smith and Josh Inglis in the middle and 74 runs to go when Gerald Coetzee (2/47) threw an additional twist into the match with double strikes.

Lastly, Cummins and Starc’s expertise comes in handy.

Earlier, in murky and chilly conditions, South Africa’s top-four players, Quinton De Kock (3), Aiden Markram (10), Temba Bavuma (0), and Rassie van der Dussen (6), all fell easily, leaving them reeling at 24/4 for 12 overs.

Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood were on fire, getting the most out of the conditions, but it ended up being the Miller show shortly after a 40-minute rain delay.

Miller’s 116-ball innings were the sixth ODI century and the Proteas’ first in a World Cup knockout game. The outsider received a snorter from Josh Hazlewood, but he kept his cool and launched his ‘Killer mode ‘, hitting eight fours and five sixes.

Travis Head’s Double Strike Derails Proteas’ Revival

Miller showed no difficulty on a shifting track and was particularly savage against Adam Zampa, who gave up 55 runs in seven overs.

He hammered Pat Cummins through a square leg onto a 94-meter six that brought him to the three-figure mark. His 95-run stand with Heinrich Klaasen (47 off 48) provided crucial relief for South Africa until part-time off-spinner Travis Head put it on, grabbing two wickets in two balls and ruining South Africa’s revival.

Miller fell in the 48th over after running out of partners. South Africa captain Temba Bavuma embraced the decision to bat first after losing two matches while chasing, but it proved to be a fast bowlers’ dream.

There was a foreboding swing and stiff bounce, and South African openers were hesitant to face Starc and Hazlewood, devouring up to 50 dot balls in the opening 10 overs.

Australia’s piercing fielding by Marnus Labuschange and David Warner rescued at least 15-20 runs within the circle, not only the bowling together.

Temba Bavuma, who was out of form, appeared nervous in the opening over against Starc, eventually falling to a four-ball duck after he pushed one beyond the stumps.

Player of the Game: Travis Head

Travis Head was performing at his best with the ball as well as the bat at Eden Gardens, scoring 62 runs and taking a brace of wickets. He was named Player of the Match after opening up on the task despite batting on challenging ground with spinners in action.

The Player of the Match said he was completely focused through the nail-biting end of the game. He accepted his team’s knowledge of the pitch after practicing on it for three or four days. He highlighted the new level of spin they were dealing with, as well as the team’s resolve to master the situation.

In spite of his initial reservations about having a hand injury, he was happy to be part of the team that beat South Africa by three goals against two. He ended by stating that the matter was as simple as Klaasen’s dismissal.

South Africa v Australia Score

Semi-Final 2
AustraliaSouth Africa
              215/7(47.2 overs)212 (49.4 overs)
Australia defeated South Africa in a nail-biting semi-final game by three wickets with 16 balls to spare

Australia has achieved an incredible recovery in the ICC One-Day International World Cup 2023 after having a challenging start to the campaign with losses to India and South Africa in their first two matches. However, the Aussies won seven of their following seven matches in a stunning performance.

South Africa, on the contrary, has been a different team during this tournament, losing only twice, once against the Netherlands as well as to hosts India. The Proteas consistently engage in fearless cricket.

Australia will face unblemished tournament hosts India in the championship match on Sunday in Ahmedabad.

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