Playing against the Proteas at Eden Gardens, it was South Africa who won the coin toss to bat first. This was a well-needed win for the South African team, who had previously been defeated twice by India and then the Netherlands.
At that point, the team had lost half their matches this year when batting second but won ten out of eleven matches when batting first. Their only defeat when batting first came at the hands of Australia. A premonition of what was to come perhaps.
South African captain Temba Bavuma elected to bat first with Mitchell Starc opening the bowling for the match. The Australians were swiftly able to dismiss Bavuma as they scored their first wicket. Pat Cummins followed this up by dismissing Quinton de Kock too, starting the match off very strongly for Australia.
Australia continued to put up a strong performance up until the 14th over before the game had to be paused due to the rain. Once the rain break was over, however, the South African team began to come into their own.
Adam Zampa went up against Heinrich Klaasen and David Miller, who managed to an impressive 95 run partnership, fending off Zampa and then his replacement Glenn Maxwell.
They stood strong against the Australians until the 30th over when Travis Head managed to clean bowl Klaasen out, ending their winning streak. South Africa continued to slowly but surely climb in runs, with David Miller hitting a century to become South Africa’s first World Cup semi-final centurion.
They ended their inning with a total of 212, which was “decent” according to Miller but clearly not what they wanted. With the Australians up to bat next, the South Africans hoped that they would be able to hamper their performance enough to secure a victory.
They were to be disappointed, however. By the 7th over, Australia was up 60 runs courtesy of Travis Head and David Warner. Warner was put out by Aidan Markram and then replaced by Mitch Marsh. Marsh however didn’t last very long, being taken out by Rassie van der Dussen in short order.
Smith stayed strong up until the 35th over, allowing Australia to climb up to a 174 runs. After this point, the South Africans were able to slow the Australian advance up until the 39th over.
When Cummins and Starc came back, however, hopes of a South African victory were dashed. Battering through the last eight overs, Cummins and Starc secured the final runs, beating South Africa with a very close total of 215.
WE’RE OFF TO THE FINAL!
— Cricket Australia (@CricketAus) November 16, 2023
With this win, Australia is now set to play against the host team India on Sunday, November 19. Is a sixth World Cup win for Australia on the cards? One can only hope!