Kolkata: Australia defeated South Africa by three wickets in the World Cup semi-final at the Eden Gardens, here on Thursday. With this win, the Australian team advanced to the final, where they will face India.
In pursuit of a target of 213, Australia successfully reached 215/7 in 47.2 overs, with Travis Head’s significant half-century of 62 proving crucial for Pat Cummins and his team. Earlier, South Africa had set a total of 212 runs in 49.4 overs, largely attributed to David Miller’s century, as he scored 101 runs.
Speaking about the win, Australia captain Pat Cummins said, “It was easier than sitting in the dugout. Nerve-wracking couple of hours but great effort and a great game. We thought it would spin quite a bit. Wasn’t expecting Starcy and Josh to bowl so much early.”
Talking about losing the toss, Cummins said, “It was a bit gloomy, swinging around, so I wasn’t too upset. Fielding is something we talk a lot about. It wasn’t up to scratch at the start of the tournament. Davey, at 37, diving around, was incredible. And the big two up front were incredible. Head has this knack of finding a wicket. Different bowlers chipped in throughout the whole tournament.”
“Inglis played beautifully. He looked in control against two really good spinners on a tough wicket. The good thing is a few of us have been there for finals before. We’ve got to embrace it. The stadium is going to be packed, pretty one-sided, but we’ve got to embrace it. The 2015 World Cup was a career highlight, so to be out there in a final in India, I can’t wait,” added Cummins.
Distraught with the semi-final loss, South Africa captain Temba Bavuma said, “It’s quite hard to put into words. Congrats to Australia, all the best for them in the final. They were outstanding for a large part of the game and thoroughly deserved victory.”
Talking about the fight, Bavuma said, “Our character came through. It was a dogfight. The way we started with the bat and the ball was probably the turning point; we lost it quite badly there.”
Speaking about the top-order collapse, Bavuma said, “The conditions and the quality of the attack. They were ruthless. We were presented with the conditions, but they really put us under pressure. Klaasen’s dismissal was crucial. We were gaining momentum at that point, and we’ve seen how destructive he can be in the latter part of the innings. David Miller showed what he can do as a player and his mentality. We would have liked to have bowled better; it allowed the other batters to play themselves in. Shamsi was terrific. We were competitive, but we needed a lot to go right. We had chances – tough chances – but we put them down.”