Road to Final: South Africa Sets Target of 213 for Australia in ICC ODI World Cup 2023 Semi-Final

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Varad Bhatkhande

Kolkata, 16th November 2023: In a nail-biting encounter at Eden Gardens in Kolkata, the second semi-final of the ICC ODI Cricket World Cup 2023 witnessed a rain-interrupted first inning, with South Africa managing to post a challenging target of 213 for Australia. The battling century by David Miller became the highlight of South Africa’s innings. This semi-final determines the team that will face India in the finals at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

South Africa won the toss and elected to bat, struggling against Australia’s formidable bowling attack. The rain interruption added a twist to the game, making the target more interesting for Australia’s run chase.

South Africa had a shaky start, losing their captain Temba Bavuma for zero in just four balls during the first over bowled by Josh Hazlewood. Opener Quinton de Kock also failed to make an impact, dismissed for 3 runs in 14 balls by Hazlewood, caught by Pat Cummins. The powerplay concluded with South Africa scoring only 18 runs at a run rate of 1.80, losing two wickets. Aiden Markram and Rassie van der Dussen were dismissed in quick succession, contributing to the batting struggles.

Rain halted play after 14 overs with South Africa at 44 runs and four wickets down. Australia’s Mitchell Starc and Hazlewood had impressive spells. The match resumed after an hour, with the Eden Gardens crowd entertained by Warner’s dance to the tunes of the popular song “Srivalli” from the movie “Pushpa: The Rise – Part 1”. Heinrich Klaasen and David Miller stabilized the innings after the break, but rain-induced interruptions continued to pose challenges.

Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood both claimed two wickets each during the initial overs, creating a formidable challenge for South Africa. Travis Head emerged as a key player, taking crucial wickets and providing spin options.

David Miller played a heroic innings, scoring a century in 116 balls, rescuing South Africa from a challenging position. Miller’s century included a mix of stable and aggressive shots, guiding South Africa to a competitive total.

Mitchell Starc, the standout bowler for Australia, took three wickets, conceding 34 runs in his 10 overs. Captain Pat Cummins also contributed significantly, securing three wickets for 51 runs in 9.4 overs. Josh Hazlewood and Travis Head each claimed two wickets, showcasing Australia’s bowling dominance.

With a target of 213, Australia is set to begin their run chase shortly. The challenging pitch conditions suggest that the low score doesn’t provide a clear advantage. In case of further rain interruptions, the outcome of the game might hinge on the DLS method, contingent on Australia’s performance and the game’s continuation beyond 20 overs. If this doesn’t happen, the match could recommence tomorrow on the reserve day.

This ICC ODI World Cup semi-final promises an exciting second inning as Australia attempts to chase down the target set by South Africa amid unpredictable weather conditions at Eden Gardens.