“It’s a never ending tension at Eden Garden…” Mbhangwa’s majestic voice commenting on the match made a kind of blood boil and rise to the top. Yes, one of the best World Cup semi-finals is over.
The Australian team won the match in a thrilling manner and qualified to play in the finals with the Indian team.
South African captain Thempa Bauma won the toss in this match at Eden Gardens, Kolkata. The South African team batted first. Batting first is an art brought to South Africa. In the ongoing World Cup, South Africa have forced 300+ runs in most of the matches where they have batted first. A little weak in the chase. The team that finished second in the points table failed to chase down the target against the Netherlands.
That’s not the case for South Africa. So, batting first was expected to be entirely in favor of South Africa. But, it was not like that. A twist ensued. They usually batted first as they usually do in chasing.
“I’m not 100% fit!” Bauma, who had come to bat after giving a confession, was caught by Starc’s keeper English in the first over. The Aussie pacers dominated the powerplay throughout the first 10 overs. De Kock also tries for a six off Hazelwood for 3 and is brilliantly caught by Pat Cummins. Starc and Hazelwood were bowling in the first session of the Test match. They caught a point at good length and continued to bowl it around the length to give the perfect Test match feel.
South Africa’s batting was similar to a Test match. They were scoring at the rate of 1 run per over as they lost the openers quickly. Even Markram and Vander Dussen could do nothing. Stark and Hazelwood fell to the alliance. The South African team stumbled 24-4. It was then that Clausen and Miller joined forces.
This partnership was joined in the 12th over and separated only in the 31st over. Both had added 95 runs together. The South African team took a breather. A little upright.
Aussies don’t care. Pat Cummins took two wickets in a single over bringing in the part-timer Head. Head bowled Clawson and Janson was lbw. He dropped both in subsequent balls. South Africa stumbled again. Still, Miller stood his ground. He batted as hard as he could and moved South Africa forward towards the least valuable score.
Miller gave his life at the crucial stage and scored a century to take the team past 200 runs. The scorer of 101 was caught at the head off Cummins. South Africa were all out for 212 runs.
The target for Australia was 213. It was expected that Australia would win very comfortably. That’s how the Aussie started the innings. Warner and Head had approached the first five and six overs at a rate of 10 runs per over. Their intention was to strike as soon as possible and end the game as soon as possible. But, after these two fell, the game took a different turn.
Raises the heart rate and increases blood flow without questioning stability. Maharaja bowls Head to make Warner bowl Markram. Starc, Hazlewood, Cummins dominated the Aussies while the spinners dominated South Africa. Shamsi and Maharaja had separate kingdoms at both ends.
The Aussies were completely overwhelmed. They gave a lot of catching opportunities. A lot of chances were wasted by the South African fielders. Catch Traps Amazing miss fields! Some appeals went against the umpires feet. However, the South African bowlers continuously created chances and took wickets due to efficient bowling.
Mitchel Marrs is ducked by Rabada. Coetzee dismissed Smith, who stood and panicked. Shamsi bowled Maxwell, who had played an innings against Afghanistan. With every wicket that fell, South Africa’s confidence grew. The Aussies kept one step behind, thinking that if they survived somehow, they would win. The blood pressure increased even more when Coetzee bolted the Englishman who stood and swung his confidence. The fear of what was going to happen was high. Both teams played tight and fast like walking on a knife. But the South African team could not win unless they managed to make the match interesting.
Cummins and Starc also slowly took care of the required runs at the end. Australia won by 3 wickets in 47.2 overs.
South Africa are knocked out once again. This time too there was no relief from that sadness for the hearts of the broken South African players. On the other hand, the Australian team has advanced to the finals for the eighth time. They have once again proved their mettle.
Who will win the World Cup this time? India or Australia? Tell me in the comments.