Captain Pat Cummins on Australia’s form ahead of South Africa world cup semi final
South Africa take on Australia in the second Cricket World Cup semi-final as the two sides meet at Eden Gardens in Kolkata. A place against hosts India is at stake ahead of the World Cup showpiece.
The Proteas finished second in the group stages losing twice, firstly in a shock defeat to the Netherlands then in a hammering by India. Australia, meanwhile, came third. Pat Cummins’ men lost their two opening games, against India and South Africa, but went on to record seven straight victories and reach the knockout rounds.
South Africa’s biggest threat comes from their stacked batting line up which has fired them through the tournament so far in and they will have positive memories of facing the Aussies as Kagiso Rabada, Keshav Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi all impressed during their victory back in October.
However, along with India, Australia are the in-form team of the tournament and look set on claiming a sixth World Cup title. They have shown their quality after a sluggish start and Glenn Maxwell produced the greatest innings of the competition in their victory against Afghanistan.
Follow all the semi-final action below and get the latest odds and tips right here:
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Huge turn, and Tabraiz Shamsi is certain! The umpire says no, but South Africa review immediately. Was the impact with Marnus Labuschagne’s pad outside the line?
Harry Latham-Coyle16 November 2023 14:24
Australia 109-3 (15), Marnus Labuschagne 2, Smith 9, Keshav Maharaj 1-3 (1) (target 213)
The wicket brings together Marnus Labuschagne and fellow quirky kid Steve Smith, their idiosyncratic gifts well suited to this sort of situation with run rate not an issue and the task at hand eminently achievable. I’d be surprised if we see a seamer any time soon – there looks to be plenty there to excite Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi, who continues.
Harry Latham-Coyle16 November 2023 14:22
OUT! Travis Head b Maharaj 62 (48), Australia 106-3 (14.1)
Keshav Maharaj strikes first ball!
Where has he been? It’s a beauty to start from the left-arm orthodox spinner, flight and drift drawing Travis Head into a drive. Maharaj’s turner slides between the gateposts and thumps into the stumps, ending Head’s spritely innings. But has the damage already been done? That feels like it could be a match-winning hand with Australia already halfway to South Africa’s total.
Harry Latham-Coyle16 November 2023 14:17
Australia 105-2 (14), Head 62, Smith 8, Tabraiz Shamsi 0-8 (1) (target 213)
Well, perhaps repeatedly changing bowlers is South Africa’s best tactic – again Australia nearly gift them a wicket first ball, Steve Smith premeditating a lap sweep but having to claw it around the corner from well outside off, and in the process almost giving Temba Bavuma catching practice at square leg. Bavuma can’t get there, diving forward but connecting on the bounce.
Through slip’s hands! Another chance comes third ball, a thick edge flying at eye height over Heinrich Klaasen’s shoulder and too hot to handle for the keeper-convert. That’s boundary number nine for Travis Head to go along with a couple of sixes, but he’s riding his luck a little.
Harry Latham-Coyle16 November 2023 14:16
Australia 98-2 (13), Head 55, Smith 7, Aiden Markram 1-16 (4) (target 213)
Yum. A lovely cover drive from Steve Smith, releasing the wrists to use the angle of attack from around the wicket to his advantage and guide a skidding off-break between the cover fielders.
The Gerald Coetzee experiment lasts a single over; Tabraiz Shamsi replaces him for some left-arm mystery.
Harry Latham-Coyle16 November 2023 14:13
Australia 93-2 (12.1), Head 55, Smith 2, Aiden Markram 1-11 (3.1) (target 213)
Reeza Hendricks trudges off, Kagiso Rabada ready to return and the substitute fielder therefore no longer required. Will that spill be his only involvement in the semi-final? It was a toughie, but Hendricks is an excellent operator in the deep.
Harry Latham-Coyle16 November 2023 14:10
50 for Travis Head! Australia 92-2 (12), Head 54, Smith 2, Gerald Coetzee 0-15 (1) (target 213)
A half century for Travis Head, up off 40 balls after three more crisply struck boundaries. Coetzee gives him his favourite line and length outside off stump and Head is in a ravenous mood, munching away merrily as Australia accelerate.
Harry Latham-Coyle16 November 2023 14:08
Dropped! Australia 78-2 (11.1), Head 41, Smith 1, Gerald Coetzee 0-1 (0.1) (target 213)
And he could have had a wicket first ball! Head slashes the ball out to deep point, where substitute Reeza Hendricks is stationed. It dips on Hendricks late but he gets both hands to it, and he’ll be disappointed not to have clung on!
Harry Latham-Coyle16 November 2023 14:07
Australia 77-2 (11), Head 40, Smith 1, Gerald Coetzee 0-0 (0) (target 213)
A change at the other end – and slightly surprisingly given the turn Markram is finding, it’s not one of South Africa’s two frontline spinners. Gerald Coetzee will stomp in instead.
Harry Latham-Coyle16 November 2023 14:05
Australia 77-2 (11), Head 40, Smith 1, Markram 1-10 (3) (target 213)
The field spreads as Aiden Markram begins, five in the ring, four outside, with Australia already more than a third of the way there to their required 213.
This is good from Markram, pushing it full as much as possible and flighting his offies nicely. His last ball is less aesthetically pleasing, but Travis Head is happy to pat it down the ground for one and pinch the strike.
Harry Latham-Coyle16 November 2023 14:04