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Australia secure Cricket World Cup final spot


Australia are through to the final of the Cricket World Cup.
Photo: sport

Five-time champions Australia cruised into Sunday’s 50-over Cricket World Cup final against India with a three-wicket win over South Africa in the second semi-final.

Australia set the stage for a place in the final after bowling out South Africa for a below-par 212 despite David Miller’s challenging 101 at the Eden Gardens.

The pursuit, however, was not as simple as Pat Cummins and his team would have liked.

Man of the match Travis Head (62) led their rollicking start before a mid-innings wobble presented Australia with trouble.

South Africa did not allow big partnerships to flourish but their lackluster total meant that Australia eventually prevailed with 16 balls to spare to reach the final for the eighth time.

“A few nervous hours but a great effort and a great game,” said Cummins, who was delighted with his team’s fielding. “It’s something we talk about a lot. It wasn’t up to scratch at the start of the tournament.”

South Africa were not popular in the tournament and Temba Bavuma’s decision to bat first under an overcast sky appeared to be unfathomable.

Bavuma played the game despite not recovering from a hamstring strain and his four-ball duck suggested that sitting out would probably have been a wiser decision.

Australia piled on the pressure with their electric field and Cummins led by example, taking a brilliant move to send back fellow South African opener Quinton de Kock.

Australia were so dominant that South Africa had to wait until the ninth over for their first boundary and they were 18-2 after their 10 overs.

Soon a snow-filled crisis set in and South Africa slumped to 24-4 in the 12th over.


Drizzle got the game going after 14 overs and when action resumed Heinrich Klaasen (47) and Miller rebuilt the innings, taking South Africa past the 100 mark in 28 balls.

Klaasen hit Adam Zampa for six but Australia regained control as the part-time spinner smashed the 95-run stand, claiming two wickets in two balls.

Miller gave up his first with Cummins but he disappeared in the same while trying to clear the rope again.

In contrast, Australia got flying, plundering 60 runs from the first 10 overs with Warner hitting four sixes in his 29.

Bavuma introduced spin in the seventh over and the move paid off immediately when Aiden Markram bowled David Warner with his first delivery.

Kagiso Rabada dismissed Mitchell Marsh in the next over but the South African’s catch was rather dirty and Head was the beneficiary twice either side of his fifty.

Just when Australia looked set for a comprehensive victory, South Africa’s spinners injected fresh excitement into the contest.

Keshav Maharaj headed through the goal and Tabraiz Shamsi dismissed Marnus Labuschagne and Glenn Maxwell to wake Australia up from possible complacency.

Steve Smith made 30 and Josh Inglis scored 28 but South Africa continued to fight back. However, Cummins and Starc combined to foil the Proteas and get Australia over the line.

“It is quite difficult to put into words,” said Bavuma dejected. “Our character came through. It was a dog fight.

“The way we started with the bat and the ball was probably the turning point, we lost it badly there.”

India beat New Zealand in the first semi-final on Wednesday to book their place in the final in Ahmedabad.

– Reuters

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