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South Africa Vs Australia Semi-Final Preview, ICC Cricket World Cup 2023: Proteas Look To Bury The Ghosts Of 1999 Against The Kangaroos

South Africa take on Australia in the second semi-final of ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 as they look to make it to their first-ever ICC World Cup final

South Africa take on Australia at the historic Eden Gardens
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While India will take on New Zealand in the first semi-final, the other semi-final clash sees South Africa take on Australia in a repeat of the 1999 edition clash. Temba Bavuma & Co. have won seven of the nine league games in this tournament with the only defeats coming against India and surprisingly, the Netherlands. Proteas have a solid batting line-up and it was all too visible when they thrashed Sri Lanka and amassed the highest score at the World Cup (428). (Cricket News | Scorecard | Match BlogFull Coverage)

Rassie van der Dussen, Aiden Markram, Heinrich Klaasen and most notably, Quinton de Kock, have hit a purple patch at the ongoing ODI showpiece. Wicketkeeper-batter de Kock, who is playing the final ODI tournament of his playing career, has notched up 591 runs in the league stage. Their skipper Bavuma is a doubtful starter as he suffered a hamstring injury during their match against Afghanistan.

As for the pacers, the Proteas have not missed the injured Anrich Nortje as the likes of Gerald Coetzee, Marco Jansen and Kagiso Rabada have stepped up. Coetzee has scalped 18 wickets in the tournament's league stage whereas Jansen, who is also a handy batter, has taken 17 wickets. With the Eden Gardens known to assist the pacers as well as the batters, this clash would be a treat to watch.

Australia, on the other hand, started off slowly in the World Cup. Back-to-back defeats at the hands of India and the Proteas did damage their position early on. But the Men In Yellow picked up soon as they registered wins over Sri Lanka, Pakistan and New Zealand. The Aussies have seen the likes of David Warner, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell and Travis Head being among the runs. Maxwell's blitzkrieg against Afghanistan was one to remember, as well as Marsh's 173 against Bangladesh.

Mitchell Starc might not be amongst the wickets but Adam Zampa's 22-wicket haul in the league stage has given the five-time champions the favourites tag. The Aussies will be looking to avenge their 134-run defeat in match 10 of the ongoing tournament.

Pitch and Weather Conditions:

According to weather forecasts, Kolkata will be serving up a maximum temperature of around 27 degrees Celsius for the players of both teams. However, as per Accuweather, there is 64% cloud cover expected.

Head-to-head

Australia and South Africa have faced off 109 times in ODIs, with the Aussies winning 50 games to Proteas' 55. One was a no result whereas three were tied.

Pre-match Quotes:

Mitchell Starc, Australia pace bowler: “Looking back at 2015, I think they were the only ones who could beat us, certainly at that tournament stage, but we did not play them. It’s funny now that we play everyone; they had the better of us in Lucknow. Both teams have kept a close eye on each other,” said Starc before adding,  “South Africa certainly have a potent attack and I have no doubt that conditions at Eden will be different from Lucknow.”

Temba Bavuma, South Africa skipper: "Obviously my leg is sore - don't know to what extent - but it's going to have to be fine [for the semi-final]," Bavuma said during the post-match presentation after South Africa beat Afghanistan. "Obviously I had that option of coming off, but I think as much as it was our last group-stage game, probably it didn't have a big bearing in terms of the play-off. "But I still wanted to be out there with the guys. It was an opportunity for me to get some time in the middle [batting], so I didn't want to let that go. But also to keep leading the guys, keep marshalling out in the field, [and] keep strengthening those relationships with the bowlers. It was a bit risky, staying on the field - but that's what I felt was right at that time."

Squads

South Africa: Temba Bavuma (c), Gerald Coetzee, Quinton de Kock, Reeza Hendricks, Marco Jansen, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen, Lizaad Williams.
Australia: Pat Cummins (c), Steve Smith, Alex Carey, Josh Inglis, Sean Abbott, Marnus Labuschagne, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Mitch Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa, Mitchell Starc.

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