South Africa finally discovered their old self at the 2019 World Cup, albeit in their last game of the tournament, depriving Australia of the top spot in the points table. Their 10-run win set up a semi-final clash between England and Australia at Edgbaston. Here’s Steven Lynch’s report from the 2020 Wisden Almanack.
South Africa v Australia
Match 45, ICC Cricket World Cup 2019
Old Trafford, Manchester
July 6, 2019
South Africa’s disappointing World Cup ended not with a whimper but a bang: written off beforehand, and missing Hashim Amla with a knee injury, they joined the party, far too late. Defeat cost Australia top spot in the table, consigning them to a semi-final against England rather than New Zealand, who would now face India.
The script went awry from the start: Markram caressed two fours in Starc’s first over, which cost 14, and there were 12 boundaries in the powerplay – the joint-most in the tournament – as the openers zipped to 73.
Lyon eventually teased out both, but du Plessis took over, belting Cummins and Lyon for huge sixes. He put on 151 with van der Dussen, who was initially ponderous against spin but dismissive against pace: van der Dussen perished last ball of the innings, deftly caught by Maxwell on the mid-wicket boundary just short of a six and a maiden one-day international century. But he had lifted the total to 325, which looked even better when Finch departed in the third over and Smith – lbw to Pretorius’s third ball – in the seventh.
Khawaja pulled a hamstring (he resumed later, but missed the semi-final), before Stoinis was run out by a superb backhand flick from de Kock, who then leapt high to snare Maxwell.
Australia were kept afloat by Warner, who might have been run out himself in the first over, but scurried to 122 – his 17th ODI hundred and third of this World Cup – before sending a flying catch to Morris at wide mid-on.
He put on 108 with the increasingly impressive Carey, whose career-best 85 was ended by another good catch at deep cover. The tail went down slugging, but could not prevent the 16th win by the side batting first in the last 20 matches of the qualifying stage.
First published in the 2020 Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack