Kangaroos Give A ‘Head’ Ache To The Jittery Proteas

Kangaroos Give A ‘Head’ Ache To The Jittery Proteas

Australia did what it does best, that is to dominate the opposition till they are cornered. The South Africans were nervous while the Australians stayed calm, in the second semi-final of the ODI World Cup 2023, on Thursday, at Eden Gardens, Kolkata. 

The Toss

South African skipper Temba Bavuma won the toss and elected to bat first. He followed the conventional route of batting first in ODI cricket.

1st Innings

It was a disappointing batting performance, barring the sensational David Miller, that put the South Africans on the back foot. Skipper Temba Bavuma (0 in 4b) edged a ball in the first over and got out on a duck, on the bowling of Mitchell Starc. The otherwise exemplary Quinton de Kock (3 in 14b) too soon followed suit and returned to the pavilion.

Rassie van der Dussen (6 in 31b) and Aiden Markram (10 in 20b) too cracked under the pressure of the new white ball and went back early. At this point, the Proteas were under tremendous pressure as the scoreboard read 24/4 by the end of the twelfth over. 

Next up was Heinrich Klaasen (47 in 48b, 4×4, 2×6) and David Miller (101 in 116b, 8×4, 5×6), they stood their ground and didn’t go down without a fight. While Klaasen missed out on his half-century, Miller completed his ton and gave the South Africans a fighting chance. 

Miller showed his class, stood strong and was the last man to get out. Miller was indeed the last man standing for the South Africans. His heroics helped the Proteas post a score of 212 runs, all out in 49.4 overs.

The Australian bowling was top-class, as apart from the usual greats Pat Cummins (9.4-0-51-3), Mitchell Starc (10-1-34-3)  and Josh Hazelwood (8-3-12-2); part-time bowler Travis Head (5-0-21-2) too notched up a couple of wickets.

2nd innings

The Australian opening pair of Travis Head (62 in 48b, 9×4, 2×6) and David Warner (29 in 18b) gave their team a solid foundation to build upon. After David Warner got out in the seventh over, Mitchell Marsh (0 in 6b) came in and soon followed suit as he got out on a duck.

Head got bowled by spinner Keshav Maharaj (10-0-24-1) in the 15th over, but he contributed some very crucial runs to get under the skin of the opposition. To Maharaj’s credit, he kept things really tight and bowled economically. 

But the South African bowlers, particularly Tabrez Shamsi (10-0-42-2) refused to go down without a fight and picked up some timely wickets. He picked up the crucial wickets of Marnus Labuschagne (18 in 31b) and Glenn Maxwell (1 in 5) in quick succession. Yet, South Africa bumbled on the field as they dropped as much as four catches. 

As the scoreboard read 137/5, pressure started to build up on the Kangaroos. And in came Gerald Coetzee (9-0-47-2) picking up the wickets of Steve Smith (30 in 62b) and Josh Inglis (28 in 47b). The young fast bowler, debuting in his first World Cup that too due to the unavailability of Anrich Nortje, was impressive throughout the tournament.

Australia now needed only 20 runs with just 3 wickets in hand. But the seasoned duo of skipper Pat Cummins (14 in 29b) and Mitchell Starc (16 in 38b) stayed calm and won the game for their team with a calculated approach.

The Result

Australia won by three wickets with 16 deliveries to spare. With this, they enter their eighth World Cup final.

Australia has been like a bumblebee in this tournament, they started slow, bumbled through, yet made it in the end.

South Africa again gave into their playoff jitters against a motivated Australia. David Miller’s century went in vain. Coetze and Shamsi’s heroics gave the Proteas hope but in the end, the Australians emerged on top

Road Ahead

It is going to be a classic final on Sunday (17th Nov ‘2023) as the mighty Australians clash with the undefeated Indians.

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