Australia recorded a thrilling win against South Africa to reach the final of the ICC World Cup 2023 on Thursday, November 16. Both teams produced a memorable semifinal game at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens with five-time champions emerging winners by three wickets.
Chasing a maiden World Cup final, South Africa’s innings collapsed on 212 runs while batting first. David Miller recorded his best ODI knock by smashing 101 runs and dragged South Africa from 24/4 to a fighting total. But a quickfire fifty from Travis Head gave Australia early control of the game and they managed to sail into the final despite some stumbles in the middle overs.
Temba Bavuma won the toss and elected to bat first with Marnus Labuschagne and Marco Jansen returning to the respective sides. Australian pacers Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood quickly adapted to the playing conditions at Eden Gardens and dominated the powerplay overs.
Starc picked Bavuma’s wicket in the first over and then Josh Hazlewood dismissed in-form Quinton de Kock and Rassie van der Dussen to put South Africa under pressure. David Miller and Heinrich Klaasen kept South Africa in the flow with a 95-run stand for the fifth wicket. Klaasen missed out on his fifty by three runs but Miller produced his second hundred in World Cup history by scoring 101 runs off 116 balls.
Chasing a tough total at tricky conditions, openers David Warner and Travis Head quickly put Australia in the favourites category by smashing 60 runs in the first six overs. Aiden Markram gave South Africa a breakthrough in the seventh over with Warner’s wicket and Rabada dismissed in-form Mitchell Marsh in the next over to raise some hopes for a comeback.
Head kept the scoreboard moving by adding quickfire 62 runs off 48 balls but once against balanced the game with timely wickets of Head, Glenn Maxwell and Marnus Labuschagne. Australia were on the backfoot with 137/5 when Steve Smith and Josh Inglish played out a defining partnership of 37 runs for the sixth wicket.
Australia lost Steve Smith when they needed 39 runs in the last 17 overs and Inglis when needed 20. Gerald Coetzee made a late impact with Smith and Inglis’ wickets but Australia survived a late scare to earn a three-wicket win with 16 balls remaining. Travis Head claimed the Player of the Match award for his excellent fifty and two for 21 bowling figures.
South Africa Playing XI: Quinton de Kock (wk), Temba Bavuma (c), Rassie van der Dussen, Aiden Markram, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj, Gerald Coetzee, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi
Australia Playing XI: Travis Head, David Warner, Mitchell Marsh, Steven Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Glenn Maxwell, Josh Inglis (wk), Pat Cummins (c), Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood
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