Published: November 17, 2023, 12:03 AM
In yet another semifinal clash with South Africa in the ICC World Cup, Australia emerged victorious in a low-scoring encounter on Thursday, securing a spot in the final alongside hosts India.
Chasing a target of 213, Australia faced some challenges on the tricky Kolkata surface, losing key wickets in the middle overs.
Despite a fifty from Travis Head at the top of the order, Mitchell Marsh`s early dismissal and Glenn Maxwell`s brief stint added pressure. However, Steven Smith`s hard-fought 30 and Josh Inglis` 28 contributed crucial runs.
The eighth-wicket partnership between Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc proved decisive, with the duo batting for 46 balls to score 22 runs, eventually sealing the match by three wickets in the 48th over.
For South Africa, Tabraiz Shamsi and Gerald Coetzee took two wickets each, but it wasn`t sufficient to defend a subpar total.
Earlier in the match, David Miller`s century had stood out as a resilient effort against the formidable Australian bowling attack. Despite an early setback, where South Africa lost their first four wickets swiftly, Miller`s century and Heinrich Klaasen`s contribution of 47 ensured a competitive total.
Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood were instrumental in Australia`s bowling, sharing the initial four wickets. Starc claimed an additional wicket, finishing with figures of three for 34. Pat Cummins also secured three wickets, while Travis Head, not a regular bowler, impressively took two wickets off consecutive deliveries.
Historically, South Africa has faced Australia twice in semifinals—in 1999 and 2007—and lost on both occasions. Australia continued this trend in their third semifinal encounter, maintaining their dominance over South Africa.