17 Nov PROTEAS BEATEN IN WORLD CUP SEMIS DESPITE MILLER TON
KOLKATA: A fine century by David Miller was not enough as the Proteas suffered semi-final heartbreak at the 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup where they fell to a three-wicket defeat to Australia at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Thursday.
The 34-year-old stood man alone with a courageous 101 (116 balls, 8 fours, 5 sixes) on what was the first off day for the South Africans when batting first at the finals.
Rob Walter’s side had been superb taking first strike so far in the competition by notching up big scores and they tried to replicate that again by winning the toss and batting under overcast skies.
However, they struggled against a disciplined Australian attacking, slipping to 24 for four before Miller’s sixth One-Day International (ODI) ton helped drag them to a respectable 212 all out in 49.4 overs.
Openers Travis Head (62 off 48 balls, 9 fours, 2 sixes) and David Warner (29) gave the opposition a flying start, before the spinners – Aiden Markram (1/23), Keshav Maharaj (1/24) and Tabraiz Shamsi (2/42) – offered the Proteas a lifeline with a succession of tidy overs that kept them in the hunt for most of the chase.
Young fast bowler Gerald Coetzee was also instrumental in helping South Africa to claw their way back with a fiery 2/47.
But the experienced Steve Smith (30) and Josh Inglis (28) consolidated when the pressure was on, and although both fell, captain Pat Cummins (14*) and Mitchell Starc (16*) carried Australia home with 16 balls to spare.
They now move on to yet another World Cup final where they will face India in Ahmedabad on Sunday.
It was a heartbreaking loss for South Africa in a semi-final as another final eluded them. Although they went down to fighting, they will undoubtedly rue what may have been after struggling to find any early rhythm with the bat.
Temba Bavuma (0) was out in the first over followed by the in-form Quinton de Kock (3) five overs later. Two of the other form men in Aiden Markram (10) and Rassie van der Dussen (6) were next to go leaving the Proteas with a mountain to climb as early as the 12th over.
Another of the form batters Heinrich Klaasen (47) finally managed to hold up an end, and along with Miller, put on 95 for the fifth wicket to get the innings moving.
But both he and Marco Jansen (0) fell in successive balls to Player of the Match Head swaying the tie heavily back in Australia’s favour.
From there, the South Africans were heavily reliant on Miller as he went on to complete a pivotal hundred.
Coetzee (19) and Kagiso Rabada (10) chipped in with some late runs to edge their side over the 200-mark, before they were dismissed with two balls to go. Starc (3/34) and Cummins (3/51) picked up three wickets apiece.
For the Proteas to challenge, they needed early wickets which did not arrive as Warner and Head threw their arms at everything to take their side to 60 for none after six overs.
Markram and Rabada (1/41) then struck to remove Warner and Mitchell Marsh (0), but Head continued to attack, taking his side quickly past 100.
The spinners then applied the brakes drastically to slow down the rate. And even though they chipped away at the wickets, the scoreboard was kept ticking by Smith and Inglis.
Australia’s two premier bowlers then completed the job with the bat to beat South Africa with 16 balls to spare and end their campaign in Kolkata.
Issued by: Cricket South Africa – Corporate Communications
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