Australia secured their spot in the eighth World Cup final with a hard-fought three-wicket victory over South Africa in challenging conditions at the Eden Gardens. The match, held at Eden Gardens, saw Pat Cummins’ team overcome the tricky situation to set up a title clash against hosts India in Ahmedabad on Sunday. Unfortunately for Temba Bavuma and his team, it marked the fifth semi-final defeat in as many attempts.
In the first innings, David Miller’s impressive century propelled South Africa to a total of 212 after choosing to bat. However, defending the below-par score proved to be a daunting task. Australia’s aggressive start saw them score 60 runs within the initial six overs, diminishing the impact of the middle-order struggle against spin. Captain Cummins and Mitchell Starc composed partnership in the end secured the win for Australia.
The key distinction between the teams lay in their performance during the first PowerPlay. While Australia took only two balls to register their first boundary, South Africa took 53 balls. Travis Head, named the Player of the Match, played a crucial role, not only with the bat but also by taking the crucial wickets of Heinrich Klaasen and Marco Jansen.
South Africa’s spinners momentarily brought them back into the game, with Aiden Markram and Keshav Maharaj making breakthroughs. However, the dropped catch of Head by Reeza Hendricks proved costly for South Africa. Despite some half-chances, Australia successfully chased down the target, with Head contributing significantly with his innings of 62 off 48.
In the first innings, batting under challenging conditions, South Africa struggled against the disciplined bowling of Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood. Hazlewood’s early breakthroughs set the tone for a difficult inning, while Starc maintained pressure from the other end.
David Miller’s century and the partnership with Heinrich Klaasen provided some resistance, but Travis Head’s timely two-wicket over shifted the momentum back in Australia’s favor. The lower-order contributions from Gerald Coetzee and Miller were not enough to defend the total, as Australia secured the win with three wickets in hand.
Brief Scores: South Africa 213 in 49.4 overs (Miller 101; Starc 3-34, Cummins 3-51, Hazlewood 2-12) lost to Australia 215/7 in 47.2 overs (Head 62; Shamsi 2-42) by 3 wickets.