A fine-all round performance from Travis Head helped Australia edge South Africa in a thriller in front of a 47,825 strong crowd at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. The three-wicket victory saw Pat Cummins’ men book a spot in Sunday’s final against hosts India in Ahmedabad.
Perhaps wary of their own tendency to “choke” while chasing, Proteas skipper Temba Bavuma opted to bat first after winning the toss. It however backfired spectacularly as Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazelwood reduced them to 24/4 under cloudy conditions.
Heinrich Klaasen and David Miller put South Africa on the path of recovery but just as Klaasen was threatening to open up, Cummins introduced the part-time spin of Head, and he accounted for Klaasen and all-rounder Marco Jansen in successive balls to peg the Proteas back again.
David Miller reached a well-made century although his dismissal came with the Proteas still having 3 odd overs to bat, and it potentially robbed them of 20-30 runs towards the end.
Head got Australia off to a fine start with the bat, and Bavuma bizarrely opted to bring in spin too late. Both Maharaj and Markram got wickets with their first deliveries, but Head had given Australia enough of a head start, and they squeaked home at the end despite the best efforts of South Africa’s spinners and their young fiery quick Gerald Coetzee, who bowled his heart out at the end and accounted for both Steve Smith and Josh Inglis to keep his side in the game.
Another what-if World Cup semifinal for the #Proteas ☹️
Needed 20-30 more runs (Coetzee not taking DRS, Miller & Maharaj out at wrong time)
Spin introduced too late
Marco mentally shot by India game?
Travis Head dropped catch by Reeza Hendricks #sscricket #SAvsAUS #SAvAUS
— thecricketblog (@thecricblogger) November 16, 2023