South Africa displayed great effort but faced a familiar challenge in a must-win game, unable to shake off the ‘chokers’ reputation. The match saw Australia securing a narrow three-wicket victory in the second semi-final. The tense encounter unfolded with Australia managing to crawl to the target. Consequently, Australia has earned a spot in the World Cup final, where they will face the undefeated India in Ahmedabad on Sunday. The stage is set for a high-stakes summit clash between the two cricketing powerhouses.
Australia started strong in a modest chase of 213 but faced a dip before making a solid recovery, thanks to a remarkable fight from the lower middle-order batsmen at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. The win marked Australia’s eighth entry into the final, showcasing their resilience. Unfortunately, for South Africa, it was another heart-wrenching defeat, marking their fifth loss in a World Cup semi-final.
On a challenging turning pitch, David Miller withstood intense pressure, crafting a rearguard innings of 101 to guide South Africa to a competitive total of 212, overcoming the early setback of losing four wickets for just 24 runs. Although the target was below par, South Africa made a contest of it with spirited bowling. However, Australia, known for their composure in crucial moments, held their nerve and closed out the game in 47.2 overs.
South Africa, grappling with the ‘chokers’ tag for decades, fell short once again in an ICC knockout game but managed to keep the contest intense. The game’s turning point came with South Africa missing five challenging catching opportunities, making a significant impact in this low-scoring encounter.
Australian skipper Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc navigated through tense moments, eventually guiding the team to victory. Australia’s triumph extends their impressive tournament run, rebounding from initial defeats against India and South Africa.
The aggressive start of Travis Head and David Warner, accumulating 60 runs in the first six overs, set the tone for Australia. However, South African spinners, led by Aiden Markram (1/23) and Keshav Maharaj (1/24), brought their team back into the game. Tabraiz Shamsi’s (2/42) crucial wickets added spice to the contest. With Steve Smith and Josh Inglis at the crease and 74 runs to get at 137/5, Gerald Coetzee (2/47) injected further drama with twin strikes. Yet, Cummins and Starc’s experience proved decisive in the end.