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This defeat means that Australia are lingering at the 9th position in the points table with no points. They have lost both games, coming off a loss to India in their opening game of the mega event last Sunday.
To finish in the top four, Cummins and co will have to win almost every fixture to not depend on net run-rate of any side. Their next three games are against Sri Lanka, Pakistan and the Netherlands.
According to sports analyst Peeyush Sharma, Australia last chased down a 300-run target over three years ago in September 2020.
With Marsh and Warner not turning up with the bat very consistently, the middle order not delivering the goods and Adam Zampa lacking his lethality, the Kangaroos are not living up their name in the mega event.
Australia Show Fielding Woes in the World Cup
Five-time world cup champions were not at their best in any department. They didn’t grab catches nor did they bowl well to restrict the in-form Proteas side.
First, they let SA reach a mammoth 310 total in the 1st innings, courtesy of their poor bowling in the opening overs and even worse fielding effort. Marcus Stoinins and Mitchell Starc were among the ones to drop sitters.
Mitchell Marsh too tripped on the boundary cushions in an attempt to catch the ball which could have been a simple catch had he not fallen down.
These scenes summed up the night for Pat Cummins’ men as they went down without a fight.
They are now just above Afghanistan, yet to grab a win in the world cup.
De Kock has a Dream Start at 2023 World Cup
South Africa wicket-keeper Quinton De Kock scored 109 with help of five sixes and eight fours. De Kock seemed to have a simple game plan: respect good balls and punish the slot deliveries with positive intent.
His second consecutive century meant that SA were on their way to another 300-plus total, coming off a huge 428-run total in the first inning of the first world cup match against Sri Lanka a few days back.
It’s only been two games for most teams in the tournament, but it will feel good to have scored the most runs in the tournament for De Kock. (209 runs)
He’s followed by his Pakistan counterpart Mohammad Rizwan with 199 runs.
Cummins and Zampa leak runs
Captain Pat Cummins gave away 71 runs in his nine overs, picking only one wicket. He has been under fire back home for the team’s poor start of the campaign, and now his sub-par performance has only added more fuel to the fire.
In the post-match interview, Cummins admitted that the way the side has gone about in both games is not acceptable. The team needs to turn the tide around soon before they crash out of the tournament, an event they are usually known for coming up with their best.
The Kangaroos could not stop leaking runs with Adam Zampa as well. The leg-spinner conceded 70 in his full quota and picked Rassie van der Dussen’s scalp.
However, for someone who is a lead spinner for his team, the performance has not sat well with Australian media.
Maxwell and Starc to the rescue
Australia were looking at a target way above 350 at one point of the first inning had it not been for phenomenal, wicket-to-wicket bowling of Glenn Maxwell.
The off-spinner has now cemented his position as a genuine all-rounder from a part-time spinner. He gave only 34 runs in 10 overs and gave his side breakthroughs by dismissing de Kock and SA captain Bavuma. He also bowled a maiden over.
As for Starc, the left-arm pacer was picked to bowl the final over and he did not disappoint. The 33-year-old bowled a double-wicket, maiden over to make sure that his team was looking at a chaseable target.
Proteas keep Australia top-order in check
Australia needed to hit the SA bowlers hard from the start, just like Bavuma and de Kock did. But David Warner and Mitchell Marsh couldn’t last very long.
With Marco Jansen showing Marsh the way out on 7 and Lungi Ngidi dismissing Warner at 13, Australia were shaken from the start of the chase.
Although the target wasn’t exactly as gigantic as Australia made it seem with the bat in hand, a collapse at the top of the order meant chaos for the upcoming batter.
A controversial LBW decision saw Steve Smith walk back at only 15 and Josh Inglis was outplayed by a gorgeous Kagiso Rabada delivery which rattled his stumps.
Marnus Labuschagne was the only batter which showed some fight. He batted sensibly for his 73-ball 46 but he continued to lose wickets from the other end. Keshaf Maharaj ended up claiming his wicket, which turned out to be his second wicket in the contest (Maxwell was the first one).
Rabada finished his eight overs with a maiden over, three wickets and conceded only 33 runs. Ngidi was not able to pick as many wickets, but his economical bowling meant that other Proteas’ bowlers could feast on the wickets.
His two maiden overs helped him concede only 18 runs in eight overs.
With this performance, the pace attack of Bavuma’s men have sent a warning to batters of upcoming opponents. Their good length deliveries and ability to swing the ball both ways has, so far, troubled both Sri Lankans as well as the Australians.
Their next match is against Netherlands where SA will be firm favourites to grab another point and continue to sit pretty at the top of the points table, with six points in hand, unless Scott Edwards’ men can surprise Bavuma and co, the way they jolted them at the last T20 World Cup.