In the 2023 World Cup semi-final clash between South Africa and Australia, Australia Clinches World Cup Final in a nail-biting encounter at Eden Gardens, securing their spot in the final against India. Chasing a target of 213 runs, Australia displayed resilience and skill, reaching the mark with 3 wickets and 2.4 overs to spare. The final showdown is scheduled at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on November 19.
This marks Australia’s eighth appearance in the ODI World Cup final, a team that has previously clinched the title five times, starting from their first victory in 1987, followed by a remarkable three consecutive wins from 1999 to 2007, and their most recent triumph in 2015. The encounter marked the third ODI World Cup semi-final clash between Australia and South Africa, with the latest installment in 2023 providing a thrilling spectacle as Australia overcame a spirited South African challenge, leaving fans on the edge of their seats.
South Africa’s World Cup woes continue as they face their fifth semifinal defeat, failing to qualify for the final after reaching the last four in 1992, 1999, 2007, 2015, and 2019. On the other side, Australia’s triumph sets the stage for a thrilling final against India, a reminiscent clash of the 2003 World Cup where Ricky Ponting led Australia to a dominant victory. Now, two decades later, India enters the final as the undefeated favorites, having won all 10 matches in the tournament. The final marks the third major showdown between India and Australia and the second this year alone, following the World Test Championship final at The Oval.
Australia Clinches World Cup Final
In the semifinal clash, David Warner and Travis Head dictated terms in their strong start to the chase, but South Africa’s bowlers, particularly Kagiso Rabada and spinners Keshav Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi, applied pressure later in the innings. Despite early dominance, Australia faced some tense moments as Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne sought to navigate the spin challenge.
Australia had the advantage of not facing a daunting run-rate, but their challenge intensified as spinners Maharaj and Shamsi found a significant turn on the Eden Gardens pitch. The situation worsened when Labuschagne and Glenn Maxwell played surprisingly poor shots instead of patiently navigating the spin threat posed by the fired-up South African duo. Luckily, Australia found stability in the composed Steve Smith, who, without taking unnecessary risks, anchored the innings, scoring 30 off 62 balls and bringing the team close to the target. Smith’s dismissal by Gerald Coetzee left him frustrated, but with a sufficient batting cushion, Australia remained well-positioned to successfully chase the modest total.
Despite a valiant bowling effort, especially from fast bowler Gerald Coetzee who secured the crucial wicket of Josh Inglis in a tense moment, South Africa’s total of 212 proved insufficient. Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins efficiently knocked around the runs, understanding that the target was well within reach.
Opting to bat in the semifinal, South Africa, led by Temba Bavuma, anticipated challenges in chasing a big total.
However, the team faced an implosion under grey skies, collapsing against superb pace bowling from Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood. Captain Temba Bavuma, enduring a tough tournament with the bat, fell for a duck in the first over to Starc. Following his dismissal, South Africa struggled to initiate any comeback. Rassie van der Dussen and Quinton de Kock found themselves at sea against the Australian bowlers. Despite being the second-highest run-scorer in the World Cup, de Kock’s stay at the crease was uncomfortable, culminating in a poor shot in the sixth over, attempting to release pressure but only managing to provide a stunning catch for Pat Cummins.
Aiden Markram, who had showcased a blistering 49-ball hundred in South Africa’s first World Cup match, became the next casualty, falling to Starc for a 20-ball 10 in the 11th over.
Australia continued their dominance as Hazlewood dismissed the formidable Rassie van der Dussen in the following over.
In a semifinal where South Africa needed a miracle, David Miller and Heinrich Klaasen emerged as the saviors. After a brief rain break, the duo capitalized on Starc and Hazlewood having bowled out most of their overs in extended spells. Pat Cummins turned to Adam Zampa, the previous leading wicket-taker until Mohammed Shami surpassed him on Wednesday. Zampa, however, faced a tough challenge as Heinrich Klaasen and David Miller attacked Australia’s best bowler, initiating a path to redemption. Despite a tight spell from Glenn Maxwell, South Africa steadily added to their tally in the high-stakes encounter in Kolkata.
Pat Cummins turned to Travis Head as his trump card when it seemed the Australian captain was running out of strategies. Head’s initial over was quite eventful, conceding two boundaries but making a pivotal impact by dismissing Klaasen and Marco Jansen off successive deliveries. Faced with this setback, David Miller had no option but to accelerate his scoring. He went on to achieve one of the most courageous hundreds in World Cup history. Ultimately, South Africa was bowled out for 212, falling just one run short of the combined score in the iconic 1999 World Cup semifinal between the two teams.