Australia back in ICC World Cup Final after surviving South Africa
November 17, 2023
Australia will face hosts India in the 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Final after pinching a three-wicket, semifinal win over South Africa at Eden Gardens overnight.
It marks the eighth occasion that an Australian side has qualified for a World Cup Final, having previously won five of them.
With cloud cover above, South African skipper Temba Bavuma won the toss and elected to bat first which has proven a key aspect of a majority of their wins this tournament.
Bavuma was dismissed for zero in the opening over of the contest after edging a Mitchell Starc delivery to wicketkeeper Josh Inglis.
Opening partner Quinton de Kock was on his way back to the pavilion with him in the sixth over after skying a Josh Hazlewood seed down the ground to a backpedalling Pat Cummins.
David Warner took a good catch at backward point to dismiss Aidan Markram (10 off 20) soon after before Rassie van der Dussen’s (6 off 31) attempt to stabilise the innings proved unsuccessful with Hazlewood’s claiming his scalp.
At 4-for-24 a dozen overs in, South Africa’s chances of qualifying for their maiden World Cup Final looked slim with passing showers appearing their closest ally.
Heinrich Klaasen and David Miller, however, combined for a much-needed 95-run partnership before part-time offspinner Travis Head knocked over the former to break the partnership.
Head then caught rangy allrounder Marco Jansen in front of his stumps for a golden duck as the tide shifted firmly back the way of the Australians.
Gerald Coetzee (19 off 39) proved a valuable foil as Miller (101 off 116) continued motoring on towards an outstanding century before being dismissed late as the South Africans limped towards a total of 212.
Head and Warner got the Australians off to flyer at 0-for-60 a half-dozen overs in before Markram claimed the big wicket of Warner (29 off 18) which was followed by the dismissal of Mitchell Marsh (0 off 6) as they fell to 2-for-61.
Head (62 off 48) was the next to go before Marnus Labuschagne (18 off 31) and Glenn Maxwell (1 off 5) were both dismissed within the space of 12 balls.
Steve Smith (30 off 62) provided some starch in the middle order before edging a Coetzee delivery to de Kock behind the stumps whilst Inglis (28 off 49) put together perhaps his most valuable knock of the tournament.
It was down to Starc (16* off 38) and Cummins (14* off 29) to drag the Australians to victory and seal the country’s eighth semifinal win and the fast-bowling duo delivered.
Head was awarded Player of the Match for his key pair of wickets and innings-best 62.
Australia, who have now won eight in a row, will face an undefeated Indian outfit in Ahmedabad on Sunday night in search of their sixth World Cup title.