Temba Bavuma-led South Africa is set to square off against 5-time world champions Australia today in the 2nd semi-final of the ICC men’s World Cup 2023, at Kolkata’s iconic Eden Garden. The winner of today’s encounter will clash against the 2011 World Cup champions, India, in the final showdown scheduled for November 19.
Despite playing contrasting brands of cricket in the initial stages of the World Cup, South Africa and Australia finished on level terms after the group stage. South Africa secured the second position by winning 7 out of their 9 matches in the league, accumulating a total of 14 points with a commendable net run rate (NRR) of (+)1.261. Meanwhile, Australia clinched the third spot with an equal number of points as the Proteas but with a slightly lower NRR of (+)0.841.
Australia will be eyeing their 8th World Cup final appearance, while the Proteas will be looking to script history with their first-ever berth in the final.
With the semi-final being a knockout match, the NRR will only come into play in case the match is abandoned by any chance, and the team with the better NRR will proceed to the final.
Australia’s World Cup Journey
Australia staged a remarkable comeback at the ICC ODI World Cup 2023 after a shaky start to their campaign with losses to India and South Africa in their first two matches. However, in a remarkable effort, the Aussies won 7 of their next 7 matches, some with ease, others with sheer grit like Glen Maxwell’s innings against Afghanistan, to qualify for the semi-finals.
South Africa’s World Cup Journey
South Africa, on the other hand, have been a different side this World Cup, losing only twice in the tournament so far, once to the Netherlands and the other to hosts India. The Proteas have played fearless cricket from the outset, with Quinton de Kock and Temba Bavuma setting the tone for the innings, while middle-order batsmen such as Rassie Van der Dussen, Heinrich Klaasen, and David Miller will see the innings through to the end.
The Proteas bowling line-up is also world-class, led by Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi. Meanwhile, others such as Keshav Maharaj, Gerald Coetzee, and Marco Jansen have been crucial in the middle overs.
Historically, after 16 years, South Africa again faces Australia in a 50-over World Cup knockout. They faced each other last in the 2007 World Cup semi-final, which Australia won.
Head to Head in World Cup: So far, Australia and South Africa have faced each other 7 times in ICC ODI Cricket World Cup competitions, where Australia won 3, South Africa won 3, and one match was tied.
Australia: Pat Cummins (c), Sean Abbott, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa
South Africa: Temba Bavuma (c), Gerald Coetzee, Quinton de Kock, Reeza Hendricks, Marco Jansen, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Tabraiz Shamsi, Kagiso Rabada, Rassie van der Dussen, Lizaad Williams
Both squads have used their full squad of 15 throughout the tournament, with back-up quicks Sean Abbott, Lizaad Williams, and Andile Phehlukwayo all featuring for a solitary match late in the group stage.