Plays of the day: A lot goes wrong for Proteas in Cricket World Cup semi-final loss to Australia

Australia's captain Pat Cummins greets his South Africa counterpart Temba Bavuma at the end of their Cricket World Cup semi-final in Kolkata. Photo: Dibyangshu Sarkar/AFP

Australia's captain Pat Cummins greets his South Africa counterpart Temba Bavuma at the end of their Cricket World Cup semi-final in Kolkata. Photo: Dibyangshu Sarkar/AFP

Published Nov 16, 2023


Australia advanced to the final of the Cricket World Cup on Thursday when they secured a nervy win over the Proteas in Kolkata.

The result means the men from Down Under will face hosts India in the tournament decider on Sunday.

Cricket writer Ongama Gcwabe gives us the plays of the day from Thursday’s semi-final.


In a night where nothing seemed to be going in South Africa’s favour, this is a review the Proteas desperately needed to go their way.

Even the toss did not go in South Africa’s favour, despite winning it and batting first which is what any other team would’ve done seeing how dominant teams who batted first had been right though the tournament.

Because of the gloomy overhead conditions, coupled by the fact that the pitch had been under covers right through the night, there was swing on offer for the Australians, nullifying South Africa’s decision to bat first.

Moreover, Tabraiz Shamsi’s leg breaks were hard to read for Marnus Labuschagne and one of them hit the right-hander on the pads with the umpire ruling it not-out, inflicting more agony on the players.

It looked plum through the naked-eye, however ball-tracking revealed that more than fifty percent of the ball’s impact on the pads was outside the line of the stumps, thus ruling it ‘umpires-call’ against the Proteas.

Shot of the day

South Africa had to start well with the ball having put a small target on the board and when Marco Jansen was attacked right away by Travis Head, Kagiso Rabada had to respond well at the other end to make full use of the two new-balls.

Rabada did exactly that in his first over, hitting the good-length and put David Warner in uncomfortable positions beaten for pace and swing.

But Rabada strayed to Warner’s pads in his second over and the opening batter dispatched him for six over the square-leg boundary, as if he wasn’t looking uncomfortable an over prior.

That shot really established Australia’s dominance on the run chase and put the Proteas on the backfoot.

Big Moment

Eventually, Warner was deceived by an excellent flight from Aiden Markram’s part-time off-spin bowling. It was a mere experiment from captain Temba Bavuma and he was rewarded straight away as Markram executed to perfection to bowl Warner out.

South Africa were desperate for a wicket having gone for ten runs per over in the first six overs (AUS 60/0 after 6 overs), with Warner accounting for 29 of those Australian runs and took only 18 deliveries to put them together.

That was the wicket that gave South Africa hope – the players on the field and the entire nation behind them back home in South Africa.

Ball of the day

As expected, the Australian batters struggled to fend off spin bowling just like they had struggled right through the World Cup. The number one ODI bowler in the world, Keshav Maharaj, together with his spin-twin Shamsi, left a lot to wonder for the opposition batters.

Shamsi unleashed a delivery to Labuschagne that beat the outside edge of the bat through to the keeper. Before that magical delivery, the leg-spinner had been bowling a series of leg-breaks to the right-hander and in this particular case bowled a googly that spun away and beat the outside edge of the bat.

It was one of those deliveries that only the great Shane Warne could bowl, but on Thursday night, under immense pressure Shamsi bowled the exact same delivery.

IOL Sport