Kangaroos set for 8th World Cup final clash against India
Australia secured a hard-fought 3-wicket victory with 16 balls to spare against South Africa in their World Cup semi-final at Eden Gardens, Kolkata, yesterday.
The low-scoring match turned into a thriller, with both teams struggling in the initial ten overs. However, Australia’s late-order batsmen fought back strongly to reach their target. Skipper Pat Cummins hit the winning boundary against Marco Jansen to seal their win, securing their spot in the final against India on the 19th in Ahmedabad. This marks Australia’s 8th appearance in a World Cup final.
Australia, chasing a target of 213, made a positive start with an opening stand of 60 runs between David Warner and Travis Head. However, the introduction of off-spinner Aiden Markram to the attack led to Warner’s dismissal, who scored 29 in 18 balls.
Spinners Tabraiz Shamsi and Keshav Maharaj mounted a superb bowling attack, challenging the Australian batsmen and putting up a strong defense.
Opener Travis Head contributed a very useful knock of 62 in 48 balls with 9 fours and 2 sixes, while experienced Steve Smith scored 30 in 62 balls with 2 fours, giving hope for the Aussies to reach their target. Wicketkeeper Josh Inglis scored 28 runs in 49 balls with 3 fours, offering good support. Pacemen Mitchell Starc (16 runs in 38 balls) and skipper Pat Cummins (14 runs in 29 balls), both hitting 2 fours each, added an unbroken 22-run 8th wicket stand to ensure victory with 16 balls to spare.
South African paceman Gerald Coetzee and wrist spinner Tabraiz Shamsi took two wickets each, while Kagiso Rabada, Aiden Markram, and Keshav Maharaj shared one wicket each.
Travis Head, who also took two vital wickets, was awarded the Man of the Match for his superb all-round performance.
Australia, led by Pat Cummins, bowled after losing the toss and immediately applied pressure, leading to South Africa’s top order struggling at 24 for 4 in 11.5 overs. Skipper Temba Bavuma was out for a duck in the first over bowled by Starc, while in-form batter Quinton de Kock, eager to accelerate the scoring rate after a slow start, attempted to play an aggressive shot. However, the result was a brilliant catch by skipper Pat Cummins at mid-on, and Hazlewood claimed the prized wicket of de Kock, who scored four centuries, managed only 3 in 14 balls without hitting a single boundary.
Starc, who hadn’t taken many wickets in previous matches, claimed his second wicket, dismissing Aiden Markram for 10 (20 balls) with David Warner taking the catch.
Rassie van der Dussen, who hit his first World Cup century against Sri Lanka, was unsuccessful this time, and Hazelwood accounted for his second wicket in the 12th over. South Africa found themselves in deep trouble at 24 for 4 wickets.
David Miller and Heinrich Klaasen tried to rebuild the innings, and when the score reached 44 for 4 wickets in 14 overs, rain interrupted the game briefly. However, the game resumed without any overs deducted, and both Miller and Klaasen continued with more confidence.
South Africa: 212 all out in 49.4 overs (Aiden Markram 10, Heinrich Klaasen 47, David Miller 101, Gerald Coetzee 19, Kagiso Rabada 10; Mitchell Starc 3/34, Josh Hazelwood 2/12, Pat Cummins 3/51, Travis Head 2/21).
Australia: 215 for 7 wickets in 47.2 overs (Travis Head 62, David Warner 29, Steve Smith 30, Marnus Labuschagne 18, Josh Inglis 28, Mitchell Starc 16*, Pat Cummins 14*, Gerald Coetzee 2/47, Tabraiz Shamsi 2/42)
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