ICC World Cup: Aus concede to ruthless S Africa

Lucknow, Oct 12 (UNI) South Africa have made another early Cricket World Cup 2023 statement, beating Australia by 134 runs in match 10 here at Atal Behari Vajpayee Stadium on Thursday.

Despite the best efforts of Australia trying to lessen the blow, factoring in net run rate, the Proteas were clinical with the ball through both pace and spin to bundle Australia out for just 177.

Australia’s attempt damage limitation came after a new-ball blitz from South Africa who looked imperious under the lights, removing five opposition batters inside the first 100 balls of the innings.

Wickets for Marco Jansen, Lungi Ngidi and Rabada meant that South Africa were well on top early in Australia’s reply, also backed by their fielders, who looked sharper than their opponents. Slumping to 65/5 as Glenn Maxwell fell for three off the bowling of Keshav Maharaj, Marcus Stoinis was then deemed caught behind soon after for Kagiso Rabada’s third wicket, taking Australia deeper in a hole at 70/6.

It took until the 26th over for the Australians to reach three figures, with Marnus Labuschagne and Mitchell Starc stitching together a 69-run partnership.

Cummins moved into the 20s in a final net run rate save attempt, though Australia’s innings was wrapped up inside 41 overs.

Australia were off to a sedate start in pursuit of 312, watchful in the first five overs. The scoring picked up in an extras-laden sixth over, when Marco Jansen bowled five no-balls and five wides with a space of three balls. However, he managed a breakthrough off the fifth ball of the over, when Mitchell Marsh tried to take him on.

The ball took a leading edge and ended up in the safe hands of Temba Bavuma at mid-off. In the next over, Marsh’s opening partner David Warner (13) then fell trying to pierce the cover region. With two wickets inside the first seven overs, South Africa were ahead in the contest.

Kagiso Rabada then had Steve Smith lbw for 19 in the 10th over to further put the Proteas ahead.

Josh Inglis, who had come in the place of Alex Carey, was bowled by Rabada for just five in the 12th over. Then Maxwell, who struggled to get going through the evening, gifted a return catch to Keshav Maharaj. Rabada then struck in the 18th over to get Marcus Stoinis caught behind for five.

Earlier, De Kock’s century helped South Africa to compile a massive total of 311/7.

De Kock brought his century in 99 balls, clobbering five sixes alongside 8 boundaries, before Glenn Maxwell dismissed him on 109. This was his second ton of the tournament, catapulting him ahead of Mohammad Rizwan as tournament’s highest run-getter.

While De Kock has scored 209 at an average of 104.50, Rizwan has 199 in his kitty as of now.

Aiden Markram, on the other hand, was flamboyant ensuring that the pace did not slacken in the middle overs. Both De Kock and Markram looked ominous, with South Africa poised to go past the 350 runs mark, but Maxwell brought Australia back by scripting a mini fightback, drying up quick runs.

The off-spinner finished with 2/34 from his stipulated overs, including a maiden, going all the way through his spell without conceding a boundary.

Maxwell claimed both openers in his effort, while spin partner Adam Zampa ended the stay of Rassie van der Dussen for just 26.

Dussen crossed 2,000 runs in ODI cricket in just 45 innings, only bettered by countryman Hashim Amla (40). The right-hander was caught by Sean Abbott at long-on after Dussen tried to slog Adam Zampa.

South Africa could have lost another wicket, but were lucky as Pat Cummins failed to grab a routine chance offered by Aiden Markram off his bowling.

De Kock carried on, and reached his 19th ODI century in the 30th over with a six off Cummins.

Cummins opted to bowl first, and Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc backed their skipper’s decision with extraordinary bowling.

Temba Bavuma survived some close calls, but South Africa stepped up. De Kock reached his 31st ODI half-century in the 16th over. Soon after the drinks break, De Kock hammered two boundaries to bring the partnership close to 100.

After the introduction of Maxwell, Australia brought down the scoring rate with disciplined bowling. The Aussie allrounder gave the first breakthrough, picking up Bavuma for 35 while going for a big shot.

Despite this, De Kock continued to bat with assertion, and smoked two consecutive sixes of Hazlewood in the 23rd over.

Cummins brought in Marcus Stoinis after the Australian allrounder was out of action for almost three weeks. He replaced Cameron Green, and Josh Inglis came in the place of wicket-keeper Alex Carey.

For South Africa, Tabraiz Shamsi came in place of Gerald Coetzee.

Both teams have had contrasting starts to their World Cup campaign. While Australia struggled on a tough track in Chennai and lost to India, South Africa dominated on a flat deck in Delhi to win against Sri Lanka.

Brief scores: South Africa 311/7 in 50 overs (Quinton de Kock 109, Aiden Markram 56; Glenn Maxwell 2-34, Mitchell Starc 2-53) beat Australia 177 in 40.5 overs (Marnus Labuschagne 46; Kagiso Rabada 3-33, Keshav Maharaj 2-30, Tabraiz Shamsi 2-38) by 134 runs.

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