2019 Cricket World Cup – Australia v South Africa: Old rivals still go hard

Warne’s magic. Waugh’s ton. Reiffel’s drops. Fleming’s tantalising roll to Gilchrist. Australia v South Africa in World Cups on British soil have a fair bit of history. The epic struggle between the two nations in ’99 for cricketing supremacy is still remembered fondly to this day.


However, South Africa’s stinking 2019 tournament meant the final group clash had little expectation to it. Instead, the fall out of the actions we all know about from Cape Town championed the headlines before this clash to determine whether Australia would finish top or second on the table.


The Proteas are always a dangerous customer, especially against us Aussies. For once, Australia bowled first in a mix-up that they needed before semi-finals time. What happened from the get-go can only be described as a shellacking.


De Kock saved his best for last. His opening combo with Markram blasted the vaunted Aussie openers around the park at eight an over to set an ambitious tone. The Aussies had to turn to the trusted Lyon early, who managed to prove his worth and secure his spot in the side with the clever wickets of both batsmen. But of course, Du Plessis strolled on with his too-small shirt sleeves and took out his frustrations on us. Combined with the developing van der Dussen, the pair batted with a sense of freedom that came with nothing being on the line.


The captain pummelled the likes of Starc and Cummins to the boundary often. He found his way to a superb ton before Behrendorff ended his stay straight after. But the number four plodded through, flailing away some loose bowling to finish off the innings well. His 95 summed up his tournament – perhaps the highlight for the South Africans.


With the ball, Rabada finally looked like he had some bite. Tahir opened the bowling again with great effect – the grandfather of the tournament removed Finch quickly to snuff out spot fires of a remarkable run chase. Warner finally broke the shackles and looked in superb touch. Batting second to large totals may unlock his stroke play, as he unleashed some ripper shots on his way to a breathtaking century. Khawaja came up lame, succumbing to an injury that took a wheel off the Aussies’ cart. Smith’s dismal demise to Pretorious also highlighted doubts – he needs to be firing when he moves up to number three for the semi.


The only other bright light for Australia alongside Warner was Carey. Coming in with plenty of time to craft an innings, he instead reverted to his successful tactic of batting aggressively. With the pair matching each other boundary for boundary, the elusive 326 total appeared reachable. When both fell in the final overs, the chase lost its momentum without such talented stroke players at the crease. Some impressive hitting from Starc only prolonged the inevitable. A brave chase that lost no admirers left the Aussies ten runs short, and importantly, one point behind the table-topping Indians.


So what now? Khawaja’s injury needs to be looked after for the Ashes. The inclusion of Handscomb and Wade gives me hope. Both should be included for the massive semi-final against the Poms. Handscomb is the middle-order glue that the Aussies have been lacking, allowing Smith to push up to his preferred number three spot. Wade has looked too dynamic for Australia A to miss out – if he continues his form he could catapult the green and gold into a rematch of the 2015 final. As for Mitch Marsh in for Maxwell? Hell no. Marsh may be steady, but Maxwell’s explosiveness is built for these moments. You’ve persisted with him until now – why would you not give him a chance to do something special?


South Africa – 6/ 325 (50 overs)

Du Plessis 100 (94 balls)                                                                   Lyon 2/ 53 (10 overs)

Van der Dussen 95 (97)                                                                    Starc 2/ 59 (9)

De Kock 52 (51)                                                                                 Behrendorff 1/ 55 (8)


Australia – 315 all out (49.5)

Warner 122 (117)                                                                              Rabada 3/ 56 (10)

Carey 85 (69)                                                                                     Phehlukwayo 2/22 (2.5)

Stoinis 22 (34)                                                                                    Pretorious 2/ 27 (6)



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