South Africa will take on Australia in the second semi-final of the 2023 World Cup at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Thursday, November 16. The winner of the game will take on India in the final at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Sunday, November 19. The Proteas finished second in the points table with 14 points from seven matches. They began the competition with brilliant wins over Sri Lanka and Australia. South Africa then suffered a setback against the Netherlands. However, they recovered well and, barring losing to India, won all their other matches. The Proteas will be a confident side heading into the semis.
Australia’s start to the tournament was in contrast to the one made by South Africa. They went down to India and South Africa by six wickets and 134 runs, respectively. However, just when question marks arose around Australia’s World Cup campaign, they hit back in emphatic fashion. Australia won seven matches in a row and finished equal on points with South Africa. They only ended in third position due to the net run rate. Here are five player battles to watch out for in the South Africa-Australia second semi-final of World Cup 2023.
David Warner vs Marco Jansen
Veteran Aussie batter David Warner got off to a slow start in the 2023 World Cup. But once he has found his groove, he has been like the Warner of old. The Aussie opener is seventh on the list of leading run-getters, with 499 runs in nine innings at an average of 55.44 and a strike rate of 105.50. In successive matches, he smashed 163 against Pakistan, 104 against the Netherlands, and 81 against New Zealand. After a couple of low scores, he contributed a half-century against Bangladesh. Warner will be keen to make a significant impact in the semi-final against South Africa.
South African left-arm pacer Marco Jansen has been among the big reasons why the Proteas find themselves in the semi-finals of the 2023 World Cup. He has struck crucial blows in almost every match he has played in. In eight games, the lanky pacer has 17 wickets at an average of 24.41. Barring the game against India, in which he scored 94 runs, he has been outstanding. Jansen claimed three wickets against New Zealand and Pakistan and two wickets in all the matches before that. He has struck early and will aim for Warner’s scalp for sure.
Quinton de Kock vs Josh Hazlewood
Quinton de Kock has been sensational for South Africa in the 2023 World Cup, his farewell ODI tournament. He is the second-leading run-getter in the competition, with 591 runs in nine innings at an average of 65.67 and a strike rate of 109.24. Only Virat Kohli is above him on the list, which says a lot about his incredible performance in the World Cup. De Kock has crossed the 100 mark four times in the World Cup, but what has stood out about his performance is how he has attacked and put the opposition on the back foot. South Africa will also expect nothing different from QDK in the semi-final against Australia.
Australian pacer Josh Hazlewood has been flying under the radar during the 2023 World Cup, which he has done pretty much throughout his international career. But while he might not have claimed bucketful of wickets in the tournament, he has definitely been impactful. Hazlewood began with a three-for against India and has been constantly chipping away at opposition wickets. He picked up two scalps in three consecutive games before going wicketless against Bangladesh. Hazlewood likes taking early wickets, and Australia would love it if he could get rid of De Kock early.
Mitchell Marsh vs Keshav Maharaj
Mitchell Marsh has been brutal with the bat for Australia in the 2023 World Cup. That pretty much sums up the way he has batted in the competition. In eight innings, he has clubbed 426 runs at an average of 60.86 and a strike rate of 109.51. While he has not been as consistent as some of the other players, Marsh has struck two brilliant hundreds. His 121 against Pakistan was a fine effort, and he was absolutely lethal in his 177 not out off 132 balls versus Bangladesh. Marsh will look to carry his big-hitting form into the semis.
Left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj has been impressive for South Africa, bringing all his experience into play on the big stage. In nine matches, he has 14 wickets at an average of 24.71 and has kept chipping away at the wickets. Like Hazlewood for Australia, he has been impactful without being outstanding. Marsh will look to take him on. Can Maharaj fox the Aussie with his variations?
Heinrich Klaasen vs Adam Zampa
Big-hitting Heinrich Klaasen has gone off the boil for South Africa since his stunning hundred against England and 90 against Bangladesh. In his last four innings, he has registered scores of 12, 15 not out, 1 and 10. In the knockout clash, the Proteas will expect a big one from Klaasen. Can he deliver?
Aussie leggie Adam Zampa has been superb for the team. He has 22 wickets from nine matches at an average of 18.91 and has been bamboozling one opponent after the other. Zampa had a run where he picked up three four-fers in a row. His tussle with Klaasen, a great player of spin, will be interesting.
Glenn Maxwell vs Kagiso Rabada
Glenn Maxwell played an incredible knock against Afghanistan in Mumbai, battling cramps and back spasms to lift Australia to victory. According to many, his double hundred, which stunned Afghanistan, was the greatest ODI knock. He already has the fastest ODI World Cup ton. Will Maxwell have more to offer in the semis?
South Africa will look to Kagiso Rabada to try and stop Maxwell if he starts going berserk. The experienced Proteas fast bowler does not have too many wickets to show for his efforts but has broken crucial stands. If he gets Maxwell, it will be a big break for sure.