Australia reach World Cup final after nail-biting win over South Africa

Australia qualified for final of the World Cup 2023 after beating South Africa by three wickets in a nail-biting contest at Eden Gardens, Kolkata, on Thursday.

Aussies achieved the modest target of 213 runs in 47.2 overs, to reach final for eighth time. Proteas bowlers gave a tough time, slimming the opponent’s chances for win, but tail order of Australia held the nerves to clinch the crucial victory.
Travis Head and David Warner made a sparkling start to the chase, cutting into Kagiso Rabada and Marco Jansen in the first six overs, racing to 60/0. But Australia’s serene progress came to an abrupt halt as the spinners kept the game alive.

The introduction of Aiden Markram gave South Africa initial hope as he struck with his first ball to remove Warner for 29. And a terrific grab from Rassie van der Dussen off Kagiso Rabada saw Mitchell Marsh depart without scoring.

Steve Smith made 30 off 62 while Marnus Labuschagne and Glenn Maxwell were dismissed in quick sessions. After Josh Inglis removed for 28, Pat Cummins and Mitchel Starc managed to save the wicket and win the game for their side.

Earlier, a magical bowling spell from Aussies restricted South Africa from building a big total as the Proteas were bowled out for 212 in semi-final.

Mitchell Starc struck with the new ball and accounted for the South Africa skipper Temba Bavuma for a duck in the very first over.

And when Quinton de Kock tried to take on Hazlewood in the sixth over, he ended up ballooning a catch towards the mid-on region.

Later, Markram was dismissed while trying to pierce through the point, and van der Dussen fell in the very next over when he edged one to the second slip. South Africa were four down for 24 before rain arrived to halt play.

After the top order collapsed, Heinrich Klaasen and David Miller tried to fight back and build a strong middle-order partnership. But Travis Head got the breakthrough by dismissing Klaasen for 47.

Miller smashed a splendid and much-needed ton to boost the total but he got a little support from fellow players.

Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins claimed three-wicket haul each while Josh Hazlewood and Head took two wickets each.

Australia will now lock horns with India in final, scheduled for November 19.