Cricket World Cup: Australia edge South Africa in semi-final thriller ...

19 days ago

Australia edged past South Africa by three wickets in a low-scoring thriller in Kolkata to book their place in Sunday's Cricket World Cup final where they'll face unbeaten tournament hosts India.

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Australia held the upper hand for much of the contest, having reduced South Africa to 24-4 in helpful overhead conditions after losing the toss, only for the Proteas to battle their way to 212 with the bat and then reduce their opponents to 137-5 with the wicket of Glenn Maxwell (1) in the 24th over of their reply.

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Rassie van der Dussen claims a brilliant catch to dismiss Mitchell Marsh for a duck!

That then became 193-7 in the 40th when, after Steve Smith (30) and Josh Inglis (28) had appeared to take the sting out the chase, Gerald Coetzee (2-47) dismissed both as rich reward for a fiery spell of fast bowling.

As the runs required for Australia ticked down into single figures, there was one final chance for South Africa, but Quinton de Kock put down Pat Cummins on eight as he got the faintest of inside edges to one from off-spinner Aiden Markram.

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Cummins (14no) cashed in on the reprieve, cracking the winnings runs in the 48th over to see Australia through to their eighth World Cup final, at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Sunday.

Score summary

South Africa 212 all out in 49.4 overs: David Miller (101 off 116 balls), Heinrich Klaasen (47 off 48); Mitchell Starc (3-34), Pat Cummins (3-51), Josh Hazlewood (2-12), Travis Head (2-21)

Australia 215-7 out in 47.2 overs: Travis Head (62 off 48 balls), Steve Smith (30 off 62); Tabraiz Shamsi (2-42), Gerald Coetzee (2-47)

Player of the Match: Travis Head

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Earlier, David Miller and Heinrich Klaasen helped rescue South Africa's innings with a 95-run partnership for the fifth wicket - either side of a brief rain delay - before Travis Head (2-21) took two wickets in two balls to again put Australia in the ascendency.

Miller (101) brought up a sixth ODI century in the 48th over, only to depart moments later as South Africa were ultimately skittled two balls shy of their 50 overs.

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David Miller took himself to three figures and South Africa past 200 by smoking Pat Cummins for six over the leg-side
Australia hold nerve in nail-biting finish

A target of 213 certainly didn't look to be enough when, in reply, Head and David Warner smashed 60 from the opening six overs in a blistering start to the Australian run-chase.

Warner (29 off 18 balls) was bowled next ball by Markram (1-23), while Rassie van der Dussen claimed a stunning, diving catch at cover to see the back of Mitchell Marsh for a duck in Kagiso Rabada's next over.

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Rassie van der Dussen claims a brilliant catch to dismiss Mitchell Marsh for a duck!

Head (62 off 48) continued to play aggressively, bringing up a 40-ball half century, before he departed, bowled by Keshav Maharaj's first ball - the pitch progressively taking more and more turn as the match wore on.

Marnus Labuschagne and Smith looked edgy to start their respective innings', the former fortunate to survive a strong lbw shout from Tabraiz Shamsi when on four and the latter earning a reprieve on 10 when dropped by De Kock - a tough chance, deflected off Smith's thigh.

The margins worked in Shamsi's favour, however, on another tight call a few overs later, with Labuschagne (18) this time given out on a delivery deemed to only just be clipping leg stump on 'umpire's call'.

In strode Maxwell, in his first appearance since scoring a sensational, match-winning double-hundred dubbed 'the greatest ODI innings ever' against Afghanistan, but there were to be no big-hitting heroics from 'The Big Show' on this occasion as he was bowled by Shamsi (2-42) when swiping across the line.

Image: Josh Inglis scored 28 valuable runs as Australia edged to a three-wicket win to reach the World Cup final

Coetzee tried valiantly to swing the game even further South Africa's way, claiming the wickets of Smith and Inglis after both appeared to be steering Australia over the line, an honour that ultimately went to their captain as the Proteas' push ran out of puff.

Miller ton rescues South Africa

Although Cummins said at the toss that he too would have chosen to bat first, it turned out to be a decent one to lose as Mitchell Starc (3-34) and Josh Hazlewood (2-12) ran through the South African top order, the new ball pair bowling beautifully in tandem.

Starc picked up the skipper Temba Bavuma for a duck in the opening over, before Hazlewood added De Kock in the sixth - Cummins claiming a good, tumbling catch at mid-on.

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Pat Cummins took a superb tumbling catch as Quinton de Kock fell for just three in the second Cricket World Cup semi-final

It wouldn't be til the ninth over of the innings that a first boundary would be scored, the Proteas picking up only 18 total runs from the opening 10-over powerplay. The pressure told, with Markram skewing Starc to point in the 11th and Van der Dussen nicking Hazlewood to second slip in the next.

The rain disturbed Australia's momentum and, upon the resumption of play, Miller and Klaasen each took a liking to Adam Zampa (0-55) in particular, plundering the leg-spinner for three and two sixes, respectively, in his opening five overs.

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Heinrich Klaasen smoked Adam Zampa for successive sixes over midwicket before being dismissed by another spinner in Travis Head

The part-time off-spin of Head, however, would prove to be a tougher challenge as the promising partnership was ended with his introduction, Klaasen bowled playing round a straight one and Marco Jansen pinned lbw next ball.

Coetzee (19) not only survived the hat-trick ball but proved an able foil to Miller in a 53-run stand for the seventh wicket until he inexcusably failed to review his dismissal despite replays showing he didn't lay a glove on Cummins' bouncer.

Miller still managed to shepherd the tail through to a richly-deserved ton, taking South Africa beyond 200 in the process, though Cummins (3-51) claimed him later in the same over before wrapping up the innings for 212.

It was a target that proved hugely testing for Australia but they eventually prevailed, inflicting a fifth World Cup semi-final failure on the South Africans.

What's next?

Australia meet unbeaten tournament hosts India in Sunday's final at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

Build-up begins at 7.30am on Sky Sports Cricket and Sky Sports Main Event ahead of the first ball at 8.30am. You can also watch Hindi coverage of the match on Sky Sports Arena from 8.20am.

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