by: Atika Mehboob TN Sport Pakistan:
Australia secured a spot in the eighth ODI World Cup final after a thrilling low-scoring encounter against South Africa. Despite a classic century by David Miller, South Africa’s total of 212 proved insufficient to defend.
In contrast to the dominant Australian teams of the past, this squad showed vulnerability, almost failing to make it to the final. South Africa, however, posed a formidable challenge. The target of 213 mirrored the score in the memorable 1999 ODI, a match that also showcased the spinners’ prowess.
Spinners Keshav Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi played a crucial role, inducing frequent false shots and dismissing key Australian batsmen such as Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, and the vital Glenn Maxwell, who departed without scoring. At 137 for 5, Australia faced a precarious situation.
The game’s intensity heightened as South Africa had their lowest 10-over score in 15 years, struggling at 18 for 2. David Miller’s exceptional resistance, raising 101 for 1, was a lone bright spot as the rest of the team collapsed to 100 for 9.
The chase for Australia wasn’t smooth either, with South Africa taking 52 balls to secure their first boundary. In contrast, Australia achieved the feat in just two balls. Despite a brief scare when Marco Jansen leaked 12 runs in one delivery and a dropped catch by Reeza Hendricks, Australia reached more than half of the required score by the 15th over.
Tabraiz Shamsi, however, emerged as the game-changer. He made Labuschagne look vulnerable in the 16th over, with a denied lbw shout. His delivery to dismiss Maxwell, whose bat had recently produced a double-hundred, became a pivotal moment, sneaking beneath the bat and hitting the leg stump.
In the end, Australia secured victory at 215 for 7, overcoming a resilient South African side and setting the stage for another World Cup final.