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Head And Inglis Star As Australia Clinch Semi-Final Thriller

What should be the strategy of the Australia batters against India

Travis Head and Josh Inglis were the stars of the semi-final, as Australia clinched a low-scoring thriller against South Africa by three wickets, to set up a final showdown with hosts India.

The Proteas had reached the semi-final of the ICC World Cup on four occasions and were looking to overcome that barrier.

Standing in their way, were the four-time winners.

It was South Africa who won the toss on a cloudy afternoon at Eden Gardens, Kolkata.

But they got off to the worst possible start by losing their Skipper Temba Bavuma to Mitchell Starc at 1-1.

Josh Hazelwood provided another crucial blow to the Proteas by removing the dangerous Quinton de Kock for just three runs at 8-2.

Aiden Markram’s ambitious cover drive on the up, found the hands of David Warner, who took a fine catch at the backward point. South Africa were in trouble at 22-3.

Things got even worse when Rassie van der Dussen knicked of to Keeper Inglis at 24 -4.

However, Heinrich Klassen and David Miller managed to stem the flow of wickets from the Australians, with a partnership of 95 from 113.

That was until Head got the crucial wicket of Klassen at 119-5.

And when the part-time Off-spinner got the wicket of Marco Jansen at 119-6, South Africa were in danger of being bowled out for a score below 200.

David Miller started to counter-attack.

He reached 50 in 70 balls.

And started to get on top of Australia’s spinners.

Gerald Coetzee played a couple of sumptuous shots.

But his innings of 19 from 39, was ended by Pat Cummins at 172-7.

Miller looked like he was batting on a different surface.

But wickets continued to tumble at the other end, as Keshav Maharaj skied a catch to Steve Smith at mid-off at 191-8.

Miller reached his hundred in the 48th Over with a monstrous six.

But Cummins made sure that he did not add to it, by removing him for 101, at 203-9.

Despite being bowled out for 212, South Africa was still in the game but knew that early wickets were the key to mounting a challenge to defend their slightly below-par score.

But Warner and Head got the Aussies off to a flyer, scoring 60 runs off the first six overs.

Before Makram bowled Warner for 29, at 60-1.

Kagiso Rabada boosted South Africa’s hopes, by getting Mitchell Marsh for a five-ball duck, van der Dussen taking a great catch at short extra cover. Australia 61-2.

Travis Head got a life on 40 when Maharaj dropped him with the score of 77-2.

And Coetzee gave him another life of the very next ball.

Head made them pay by pulling Coetzee to the boundary to bring up his 50 in 40 balls.

And Steve Smith got into his work at the other end.

But when Maharaj was introduced into the attack, he gave South Africa hope, by dismissing Head for 62, at 106-3.

But South Africa’s sloppiness in the field was starting to cost them, as De Kock dropped Smith on 10, at 116-3.

Tabaraiz Shamsi gave South Africa a lift, removing Marnus Labuschagne for 18, at 133-4.

And Shamsi started to turn things in their favour, by removing the dangerous Glenn Maxwell, at 137-5.

Smith survived a close run-out call on 21.

And began to get Australia closer to the target.

But an uncharacteristic shot meant that he ended up skying a catch to de Kock, at 174-6.

Josh Inglis released the pressure, with some attacking strokes.

While Coetzee gave South Africa a sniff, by removing him for 28 at 193-7.

Cummins survived a close LBW shout of his first ball, the ball appeared to be pitching outside the leg stump.

But his cameo of 14 from 29, ensured Australia of their place in the final on Sunday.


In the post-match presentation, Cummins praised Head’s all-round contribution, which was the key to getting his team over the line.

“Travis Head was crazy. He has a knack of finding a wicket when you need one. That was huge. I think it has been a feature of the whole tournament. There’s been players who chip in with those middle-over wickets and Travis was the man today. “Josh Inglis played beautifully. We had heaps of time and he looked in total control our there, particularly against two really good spinners on a tough wicket.”

Cummins: BBC Sport

When asked about the key secret of reaching eight World Cup Finals, he gave a classy response.

“I don’t know really. The good thing is a few guys have been there in a final before so we can draw on that. A couple of other guys have played in T20 World Cups as well. You have to embrace it. It’s going to be packed, pretty one-sided I reckon, so you just have to embrace it. “It’s going to be a special final. I still talk of the 2015 as one of my career highlights and I wasn’t even playing. So to be out there in a final, in India, world’s biggest stadium…it’s a very happy changing room at the moment.”


Meanwhile, a dejected Bavuma praised the effort of his bowlers for their outstanding effort to try and defend their below par score of 212.

“We felt our total was competitive. We would have liked to start better, they had more than 70 in the first 10 overs. Our spinners really put them under pressure, but we needed a lot to go our way.

Bavuma: BBC Sport

But he did admit that the missed opportunities in the field were what really cost them.

“We had tough chances that we put down. When the margins are like that you need things to go your way. That doesn’t take away from the Australia display.


However, he was full of praise for his players in this tournament and praised de Kock for becoming the tournament’s second-highest run-scorer, with 591 rums.

“Quinton de Kock has had an outstanding tournament. We’ve enjoyed playing with him. He has dazzled us all. In South Africa he will go down as a legend of the game.”


Head on the other hand, was thrilled with his all-round performance, especially having recovered from a broken hand, prior to the start of the World Cup.

“It’s hard to unpack all of that. I didn’t move for the past couple of hours. It was a tense finish and an amazing game. “After the broken hand I thought I wasn’t going to be here. I just want to contribute for Australia and will have another chance in a couple of days.”


The South Australian left-hander’s World Cup was hanging by a thread, as he picked up a hand before the start of the tournament, but he was glad to contribute to Australia in this tournament.

“After the broken hand I thought I wasn’t going to be here. I just want to contribute for Australia and will have another chance in a couple of days”


Head was also proud of his performance with the ball, especially having taken the crucial wicket of Klassen.

 “I was under the pump and somehow that got through him. I’m always keen to have a bowl.”


So that means India and Australia will face of on Sunday at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad, for a chance to once again claim cricket’s greatest prize.

Who will come out on top?

Find out on World in Sport.

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