Australia see off South Africa to set up World Cup final showdown with India

By Sports Desk November 16, 2023

Australia will take on India in Sunday’s World Cup final after edging South Africa in a nerve-wracking semi-final at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens.

The five-time winners will face the all-conquering hosts in Ahmedabad following a tense three-wicket win against the Proteas, who fought back hard after a calamitous start with the bat.

Captain Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc were the key figures in dragging Australia through, taking three wickets apiece in a pace bowling exhibition then coming together with bats in hand to negotiate a decisive eighth-wicket stand at the death.

South Africa had bossed this fixture a month ago in the group stages, winning by a huge 134-run margin, but appeared to be leaning into the reputation as knockout ‘chokers’ when they slumped to 24 for four in less than 12 overs.

A brilliant, defiant 101 from David Miller lifted the gloom and gave his side a total of 212 to bowl at before a wearing pitch offered enough encouragement to push Australia close.

Opener Travis Head carved 62 off the target at the top of the innings, but wickets fell regularly, with spin playing a major role, to leave a tricky path to the finish line.

Gerald Coetzee dismissed Steve Smith (30) and Josh Inglis (28) to leave Australia relying on their lower order, with Cummins and Starc up to the mark.

They put on 22 in 46 painstaking deliveries, with Cummins dropped by wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock with nine still needed before slashing the winning boundary behind point.

Australia will now head to their eighth World Cup final, looking to upset an India team with a 100 percent record at their own tournament in a repeat of the 2003 showpiece.

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  • India cruise into World Cup semi-finals, Australia on the brink of exit India cruise into World Cup semi-finals, Australia on the brink of exit

    India booked their place in the T20 World Cup semi-finals with an impressive 24-run victory over Australia on Monday.

    Rohit Sharma was the star, hitting an excellent 92 off 41 balls to set India on their way to the win, with defeat leaving Australia in a precarious position.

    Virat Kohli was out for a duck after being caught off Josh Hazlewood early on (2-14), but Sharma took control, getting his half-century off just 19 balls.

    He was eventually bowled out by Mitchell Starc (2-45), but the damage was already done, as Suryakumar Yadav (31), Shivam Dube (28) and Hardik Pandya (27no) helped India to 205-5.

    Australia started their innings strongly though, as Travis Head hit 76, but he was caught by Sharma after Axal Patel pulled off an incredible one-handed catch to dismiss Mitchell Marsh for 37.

    The chase stalled somewhat after that, with Arshdeep Singh getting two late wickets to finish on 3-37, limiting Australia to just 181-7.

    India will face England in the semi-finals, but defeat for Australia means they will be out of the tournament if Afghanistan beat Bangladesh. They could also miss out on net run rate if the result is flipped and Bangladesh get a big enough victory.

    Data Debrief: Sharma on top

    Sharma's knock of 92 included seven fours and eight sixes, and it means that he leapfrogs to the top of the charts.

    He is now the top scorer for India in T20Is with 4165 runs, going past Virat Kohli's 4103, and is also the top-scorer in T20Is overall, moving above Babar Azam's tally of 4145.

  • Markram 'not brainwashed' by reaching T20 World Cup semi-finals Markram 'not brainwashed' by reaching T20 World Cup semi-finals

    Aiden Markram was in no mood to celebrate despite helping South Africa secure their place in the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup. 

    The Proteas earned a three-wicket victory over co-hosts West Indies at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method. 

    South Africa restricted their opponents to 135-8, but lost Reeza Hendricks (1) and Quinton de Kock (7) in the second over before Tristan Stubbs and Heinrich Klaasen steadied the ship. 

    Marco Jansen was the man to get them over the line, holding his his nerve and hitting a six to secure the triumph with five balls of the contest remaining.

    "A lot of relief to get through to the semi-final," captain Markram, who scored 18 runs from 22 balls, said after the encounter. 

    "But I'm not going to be brainwashed by that, we'd have liked to be a lot more convincing in getting the job done.

    "It's been the story of our competition to get ourselves into tricky situations then by hook or by crook, get over the line."

    For the West Indies, the defeat ended their hopes of claiming a third T20 World Cup title, having lost to England and overcoming fellow co-hosts the United States in their Super 8 fixtures. 

    "Credit to the boys, they fought to the very end. As a batting group, best to forget, the middle overs especially," Windies captain Rovman Powell said. 

    "When you look on a large scale, we haven't reached the semis. But the cricket we've played in the last 12 months is commendable. To move from number nine to number three in the world, there's a lot of buzz in West Indies cricket.

    "When we hear the anthem play we hear something, we're heading in the right direction."

  • Sri Lanka Women take 1-0 series lead with first T20I win over West Indies Women since 2015 Sri Lanka Women take 1-0 series lead with first T20I win over West Indies Women since 2015

    New format, same result for the West Indies Women as Sri Lanka continued their dominance over their Caribbean counterparts with a win in the first of three T20 Internationals in Hambantota on Monday.

    Returning skipper Hayley Matthews brought some respectability back to the Windies batting but it wasn’t enough in the end as the tourists made 134-8 from their 20 overs after being put in to bat by the hosts.

    Matthews led the way with a run-a-ball 30 while Aaliyah Alleyne also contributed with 26 off 22 balls including three fours.

    Sri Lanka skipper Chamari Athapaththu was excellent with the ball on her way to a career best 4-29 from her four over spell while Inoshi Priyadharshani provided excellent support with 3-28 from her four overs.

    Vishmi Gunaratne and Harshitha Samarawickrama then each made 35 as the Sri Lankans stuttered to their target, eventually reaching 137-6 in the 19th over.

    Afy Fletcher took 2-29 from her four overs for the Windies.

    This was Sri Lanka’s first win over the West Indies in T20Is since 2015. They also won the ODI series 3-0.

    The second T20I takes place on Tuesday.

    Full Scores:

    West Indies 134 for 8 off 20 overs (Hayley Matthews 30, Chamari Athapaththu 4-29, Inoshi Priyadharshani 3-28) 

    Sri Lanka 137 for 6 off 18.4 overs (Vishmi Gunaratne 35, Harshitha Samarawickrama 35, Fletcher 2-29)

     

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