Despite losing wickets at regular intervals, Australia defeated South Africa in the second semi-final of the ICC men’s World Cup 2023 at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata to advance to the final in South Africa. Earlier, David Miller’s century helped South Africa reach 212 runs. Australia’s bowling attack was led by Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazelwood, as well as skipper Pat Cummins. South Africa captain Temba Bavuma won the toss and chose to bat against Australia.
Pat Cummins and company will now play India in the championship game. In a very tactical contest, Australia managed to reach 215/7 in 47.2 overs while chasing 213 runs. Travis Head hit 62 runs off 48 balls to help Australia to a half-century. Meanwhile, Australia’s Steve Smith (30), David Warner (29) and Josh Inglis (28) also scored crucial runs. Tabraiz Shamsi and Gerald Coetzee each grabbed two wickets for South Africa’s bowling attack.
Earlier, David Miller’s 101 off 116 balls virtually single-handedly propelled South Africa to 212 after Australia put on the pressure in the first 20 overs and dismissed their top four in the first 12. After Temba Bavuma, Australia came out with the bit between their teeth and elected to bat first. Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood were unyielding with their lengths and lines, while the Australian fielders flew about and stopped practically everything. South Africa only scored 22 runs in the first 11 overs and lost three wickets, including batting star Quinton de Kock. Things got worse when Hazlewood got Rassie van der Dussen in the 12th. This brought South Africa’s finishers Heinrich Klaasen and Miller together in the 12th over of the innings.
Rain arrived two overs later, and South Africa were 44/4 in 14 overs. The action resumed a little more than 50 minutes later, with no overs lost. Miller and Klaasen kept the Proteas in check before they began counter-attacking and putting pressure on the Australians. The stand reached 95 in 113 when Travis Head removed Klaasen in the 31st over on 47 off 48. He then got Marco Jansen off the following ball to put Australia back on front. Miller was soon joined by Gerald Coetzee, and the pair put up 53 runs for the seventh wicket. Coetzee was quickly out on 19, and Miller batted with the tail to finally score a valiant century. Soon after, he was out for 101 off 116 balls, and South Africa was all out for 212 in the last over.
|Josh Inglis (w)|
|Pat Cummins (c)|
|Quinton de Kock (w)|
|Temba Bavuma (c)|
|Rassie van der Dussen|
Temba Bavuma South African Captain: “Quite hard to put into word. Congrats to Australia, all the best for them in the final. They were outstanding for a large part of the game and thoroughly deserved victory. Our character came through. It was a dog fight. The way we started with the bat and the ball was probably the turning point, we lost it quite badly there. Conditions and the quality of the attack. They were ruthless. Presented with the conditions but they really put us under pressure. We were gaining momentum at that point, we’ve seen how destructive he can be in the latter part of the innings. David Miller showed what he can do as a player and his mentality. Would have liked to have bowled better, it allowed the other batters to play themselves in. Shamsi was terrific, we were competitive but we needed a lot to go right. We had chances – tough chances – but we put them down. Could have been more proactive but you need things to go your way. As a young guy he was a warrior. There wasn’t much happening for him to bowl like that and get the wicket of Smith, get us back into the game. He kept on going until he was cramping. Outstanding tournament. Would have wanted to end on a different note, but he’ll remember the fight we showed as a team. We’ve enjoyed playing with him, in SA he will go down as a legend of the game.”
Australian Captain Pat Cummins: “Easier than sitting in the dugout. Nerve-wracking couple of hours but great effort and a great game. We thought it would spin quite a bit. Wasn’t expecting Starcy and Josh to bowl so much early. Bit gloomy, swinging around so wasn’t too upset. [Fielding] Something we talk a lot about. Wasn’t up to scratch at the start of the tournament. Davey, 37, diving around, incredible. And the big two up front were incredible. Has this knack of finding a wicket. Been different bowlers chip in through the whole tournament. Played that beautifully. He looked in control against two really good spinners on a tough wicket. The good thing is a few of us have been there for finals before. Got to embrace it, the stadium is going to be packed, pretty one-sided but got to embrace it. The 2015 World Cup was a career highlight, so to be out there in a final in India, can’t wait.”
Travis Head, Player of the Match: “Hard to unpack all of that. Tense finish, amazing game. We knew how it was going to play. Having had three or four days here, you go to bed and think about it. The wickets have been unbelievable, haven’t seen much spin but we knew it was going to be a grind. Thought I wasn’t going to be here, just want to contribute for Australia. [Klaasen ball] Straight as they come. I was under the pump, not sure how it got through. Seeing the wicket, was prepared to bowl a few overs. Always keen. We’ve had that positive approach, trying to get ahead of the rate. Disappointed to get out how I did, that’s the match-up for me but it wasn’t to be. Unbelievable attack. Never dreamed of being in a World Cup final against the team of the comp so far.”
Australia 215 for 7 [Head 62, Shamsi 2-42, Coetzee 2-47] beat South Africa 212 [Miller 101, Klaasen 47, Starc 3-34, Hazlewood 2-12] by three wickets