The second semi-final of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 will see Australia and South Africa battle it out at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. Australia come into this match with a run of seven wins on the trot, having finished second in the 10-team table behind toppers India. South Africa have played some solid cricket as well and finished third, and this time, there is a positive mood among players and fans alike in terms of believing the Proteas will be a massive force in terms of making it to the final. So a big clash awaits the two teams. South Africa have the edge over the Aussies, coming back to win the five-match series against Australia before the World Cup and beating them in the league stage. Australia are, howeve,r a force to be reckoned with, having been ominous in big ICC events. SA are the dark horses and need to back themselves.
Here, we decode the insights and key stats
Australia have dominated the World Cup scenes
The Aussies are the most successful team in ODI World Cups, having won the most number of trophies. Australia have won the prize in 1987, 1999, 2003, 2007, and 2015, respectively. Notably, they know how to get the job done in the big moments. Meanwhile, Australia are in their ninth semi-final, which is the joint-most. They have so far won six, lost one, and tied one. They went on to reach the final after tying that famous semis clash versus the Proteas in 1999 due to a superior finish in the Super Six stage. If anybody knows how to get past the line in the pivotal moments, it’s the Aussies.
7 successive wins in the ODI World Cup 2023
Australia started their World Cup campaign with a defeat against India and South Africa respectively and question marks surfaced. However, as the tournament progressed, they got better and picked up seven wins on the bounce. The major moment was against Afghanistan when they were down and out before Glenn Maxwell launched an attack single-handedly to steal the show. He smashed 201* in what is the best ODI knock to date. In those seven matches won, the Aussies posted four scores of 300-plus. They also registered the biggest win in terms of runs in the World Cup (309) versus the Netherlands. Mitchell Marsh struck two tons and Adam Zampa was sensational with his wickets regularly.
Australia counting on their in-form big guns
With 499 runs from nine games, David Warner leads the tally for the Aussies. He is eyeing to get past 500 runs in successive ODI World Cups. Warner has already smashed two tons and two fifties. Mitchell Marsh, with a strike rate of 109.21, is a dangerous performer. He holds the key in terms of an explosive knock. He averages 60.85 in this World Cup. Maxwell is another player with two tons for the Aussies. He has a strike rate of over 150-plus, smashing 22 sixes. Zampa is currently the top wicket-taker in the ICC World Cup 2023 with 22 scalps at 18.90. He has really made a difference with his consistency.
South Africa have never won a World Cup semi-final
South Africa are into their fifth World Cup semi-final. So far, the Proteas haven’t made it to a final of the World Cup, losing three and tying one. So the writing is on the wall for South Africa, who need to rise from this and break the semi-final jinx. South Africa, who haven’t been the team to pass the test in pivotal moments come into the semis on the back of seven wins and two defeats. In the last 10 years, SA have played 25 World Cup matches, winning 15 and losing 10. They have the fourth-best win percentage among teams during this 10-year-period. One hopes the Proteas manage to clock a final in what is their fifth attempt (semis).
SA are dangerous while batting first
SA are the side to beat when they bat first. They started the World Cup with the historical 428-run total against Sri Lanka. Versus the Aussies, they posted 311/7 in the next match. Against England they posted 399/7. Against Bangladesh, they managed 382/5 and versus New Zealand, they scored a crucial 357/4. These are massive scores and SA will back themselves if they bat first.
SA can falter batting second
However, the South African cricket team is vulnerable when batting second. They lost to the Netherlands while chasing. Pakistan almost beat SA after scoring 270. SA (271/9) suffered the blues before Keshav Maharaj won the game for them. Against India, SA were chasing 327 before falling for 83. Versus the Afghans, they lost five wickets in a chase of 245. So the task for Aussies remains to ask SA to chase if they win the toss.
SA have clutch players
Quinton de Kock has been solid in the 2023 World Cup, scoring 591 runs at 65.66. He has already smashed four hundreds. Rassie van der Dussen with 442 runs at 55.25 has been solid as well. Aiden Markram with a strike rate of 114.45 remains a threat for the Aussies. With the ball, Gerald Coetzee (18 scalps from 7 games) owns an average of 19.38. He leads the wickets column for SA. Marco Jansen with 17 scalps is another in-form player. Spinner Maharaj owns an economy rate of 4.37.
Here are the fast stats
- *De Kock (6767) can become the sixth-highest scorer for SA by surpassing Gary Kirsten (6798).
- *Markram owns 49 sixes and is one shy of 50.
- *De Kock can become the first SA batter with 1000 runs in 2023.
- *Heinrich Klassen owns the best strike rate in 2023 among batters with over 500 runs (147.08).
- *Zampa is the leading wicket-taker for Australia in 2023 (37).