Kolkata, Nov 15 (Ajit Weekly News) There is something about the Australia-South Africa clash which makes the fans be on edge of their seats. Right from the 1999 World Cup semi-final, where Australia got ecstasy and South Africa were spiraled into the endless so-close-yet-so-far phase, matches between the two teams have been keenly watched and contested.
Come Thursday, and the Australia-South Africa rivalry will have another chapter added when the two teams clash in the semi-finals of 2023 Men’s ODI World Cup at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Thursday, to decide who goes to Ahmedabad for the title clash on Sunday.
In this World Cup, there has been little to separate Australia and South Africa. Both lost two matches and won seven games; both collected 14 points in the league. But the net run rate meant Proteas finished at second ahead of Australia’s third place.
When the two teams played in the league match at Lucknow last month, Quinton de Kock’s sizzling century propelled South Africa to a comfortable 134-run victory. After that, Australia have been on a seven-match winning streak, though they won’t be underestimating the mighty South Africa.
Helping South Africa lead the charge apart from de Kock in the batting have been Heinrich Klassen, Rassie van der Dussen, Aiden Markram and David Miller, with Temba Bavuma’s availability still shrouded in mystery. Australia also have a power-packed batting line-up of David Warner, Travis Head, Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Glenn Maxwell and Mitchell Marsh.
In the bowling, both teams have capable people to win matches on their own: Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Gerald Coetzee, Marco Jansen and Keshav Maharaj for South Africa, with Markram being another option, as they have bowled out oppositions seven times.
From Australia, they have stars like Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Adam Zampa, with Maxwell, Head and Marsh able to roll their arm over, as they bowled out oppositions five times. Both have points of weakness too: South Africa are iffy in chases, while Australia can become thin on middle-order.
There’s a rain threat too in Kolkata, which adds more drama to the semi-final which promises to be another classic World Cup encounter. Australia will be fueled by the desire to continue their winning streak, and South Africa will be stirred by the fire to get a step closer to the trophy. Whatever happens at the end, an epic encounter is loading for fans to experience a tight and closely-contested game of knockouts cricket.
Australia: Pat Cummins (captain), Steve Smith, Alex Carey, Josh Inglis, Sean Abbott, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitch Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa, and Mitchell Starc.
South Africa: Temba Bavuma (captain), Gerald Coetzee, Quinton de Kock, Reeza Hendricks, Marco Jansen, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen, and Lizaad Williams.
–Ajit Weekly News
News Credits – I A N S