Thursday turned out be an another heartbreak for South Africa as Australia crushed their hopes of lifting the ODI World Cup 2023 title. The Proteas faced a shocking three-wicket defeat against the Aussies in the semi-final, which turned out to be a low-scoring thriller in Kolkata. Chasing a below-par score of 213, Australia lost kept on losing wickets at regular intervals but Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc held their nerves and took their side across the line with 16 balls to spare.
Infamous for holding the ‘chokers’ tag, South Africa were one of the strong contenders to win the tournament. However, their elimination has now invited some criticism as former South Africa spinner Imran Tahir lashed out at skipper Temba Bavuma for his poor captaincy.
“It is all about mindset. If you are going out on the field, are you going as a warrior? You are persisting with a bowler who’s bowling 90mph (Coetzee), but you didn’t keep a slip for him. Then, you concede a four from slips when they need 25 runs to win. As a captain, and even as senior players, you should know such things,” Tahir said on Star Sports after the match.
“This is a big game, not a normal, bilateral match. Youngsters don’t realize what more this bunch could’ve done. Sure, a South African team will eventually reach a final. Youngsters will come. We believed in this team, and they won’t be the first heroes to reach the final. If you keep squandering such chances… today, the ground was full. There are 54 million South Africans who were behind you. Personally, I’m very disappointed. Give me a South Africa kit right now, I’m ready to fight even at this age,” he added.
Talking about the match, Travis Head starred with bat and ball as Australia set up a World Cup final clash with India after a tense three-wicket win over South Africa.
Chasing a tricky 213 for victory, Australia wobbled after Head hit 62 but Steve Smith (30) and Josh Inglis (28) helped the five-time champions reach their target with 16 balls to spare.
As Australia reached an eighth World Cup final, South Africa were left to rue a fifth semi-final loss despite David Miller‘s 101.
Australia slipped to 137-5 and then 193-7 before Mitchell Starc (16) and skipper Pat Cummins (14) kept their nerve to steer the team home.
(With AFP Inputs)
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