Head, bowlers lift Australia into the final as South Africa fall short in semis again

Tags: World Cup 2023, South Africa vs Australia, 2nd Semi-Final (2nd v 3rd) at Kolkata, Nov 16, 2023, Australia, South Africa

Published on: Nov 17, 2023

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Travis Head (2/21 & 62 off 48) came up with a superb all-round show, while Mitchell Starc (3/34), Pat Cummins (3/51) and Josh Hazlewood (2/12) starred with the ball as Australia beat South Africa by three wickets in the second semi-final of the 2023 World Cup on Thursday, November 16.

Bowling first after losing the toss at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, Australia did a great job to restrict South Africa to 212. The Aussies lost seven wickets in the chase as the Proteas fought hard with the ball, but the five-time champions sneaked home in 47.2 overs.

South Africa got off to a horror start with the bat, losing four wickets for 24 runs inside 12 overs. Temba Bavuma (0), who was not 100 percent fit, fell for a duck, poking at a length ball outside off from Starc. The in-form Quinton de Kock struggled for 3 off 14. Frustrated with being unable to get away, he gave it away, skying an attempted big hit off Hazlewood.

Aiden Markram (10) edged Starc to backward point. Rassie van der Dussen (6 off 31) then nicked Hazlewood to second slip to leave the Proteas in complete doldrums. David Miller (101 off 116) and Heinrich Klaasen (47 off 48) added 95 runs for the fifth wicket to give South Africa a lift.

Australia, however, found an unlikely bowling hero in Head, who knocked Klaasen over with an innocuous delivery. The part-time spinner had two-in-two when Marco Jansen was trapped lbw for a golden duck. Miller’s valiant hundred, which featured, eight fours and five sixes, ensured South Africa at least crossed 210.

In a small chase, Australia got off to a rapid start as the openers added 60 in six overs. The dangerous partnership was broken when Markram knocked over for David Warner for 29 off 18. Mitchell Marsh (0) was then brilliantly caught by Van der Dussen off Kagiso Rabada’s bowling. Head and Steve Smith (30 off 62) added 45 for the third wicket to put Australia on course for victory.

The partnership ended when Head was bowled by a smart delivery from Keshav Maharaj. There was some sense of panic in the Australian camp when Marnus Labuschagne (18) was trapped lbw by Tabraiz Shamsi, who also knocked over Glenn Maxwell (1).

Steven Smith (30) and Josh Inglis (28) both made significant contributions before being dismissed by Gerald Coetzee (2/47). Starc (16 not out) and Cummins (14 not out), however, held their nerve to take Australia home. They will now meet India in the final on November 19.

--By A Cricket Correspondent

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