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Australia reached the World Cup final round for the eighth time with a hard-fought low-scoring win over South Africa at Eden Gardens. Pat Cummins’ side will face hosts India in Ahmedabad on Sunday. For the likes of Temba Bavuma, it was another semi-final defeat and South Africa’s fifth in five attempts to reach the semi-finals.

David Miller hit his sixth ODI hundred after electing to bat to take Temba Bavuma’s side to 212, but it was always going to be a challenge to hold on to a below-par total. Australia got off to a hot start, scoring 60 runs in the first six overs to set the tone for the chase. The mature hands of captain Cummings and Mitchell Stark then led Australia over the line with a 22-point lead.

The difference between the two sides was perhaps reflected in the batting during the PowerPlay. It took South Africa 53 balls to hit their first boundary, while Australia accomplished the same feat with just two balls. Man-of-the-match Travis Head struck a quickfire 62 off 48 balls to set the game in motion, and it’s safe to say the game was never in doubt from the start. Head’s contribution was all the more important considering that Heinrich Klaasen and Marco Jansen were out for crucial three-post wickets in two scrums.

Australia beat South Africa to reach World Cup final round

The only time South Africa watched the game was when their spinners bowled. Aiden Markram used a bit of spin to knock out David Warner with the help of the first spinner to whom Temba Bavuma turned. Keshav Maharaj, who was not replaced until the 15th over, was the last bowler and his first ball also hit Hyde.

After Hyde’s sending off, Tabraiz Shamsi and Maharaj played a quiet game which eventually led to the sending off of Marnus Labuschagne. Shamsi then bowled Glenn Maxwell to leave Australia trailing at 137 for 5.

Despite South Africa’s bowling efforts, their half chances were not capitalized on. Quinton de Kock failed to take a couple of difficult catches behind the stumps, but Reeza Henrdicks’ missed catch off Head for the 40th wicket will be something South Africa will look back on with regret. Then-bowler Gerald Coetzee returned to pick Steve Smith and Josh Inglis, but mediocrity held South Africa back. However, credit goes to Miller for his excellent play, which helped South Africa score a respectable 212 runs off 24 deliveries.

Even Pat Cummins admitted that batting under cloudy skies was something to aspire to, but it took Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood just a couple of balls to make it clear that batting in new-ball conditions is no easy task. Bhauma completed all five of his strokes at the crease, almost trailing Starc, but Hazlewood at the other end was more of a threat.

Hazlewood’s first-round performance was 6-1-12-2, with the two triples going to De Kock (tackled up the middle after a series of penalties) and Lacy van der Dusen (two slips). Stark wasn’t far behind on the other end, throwing seven fastballs in his first round, going 2-for-18. Markram was the other batsman for Stark, who led the back-end of the lineup.

So tight was the line and length of the new bowler’s bowling and so good was the Australian ground defense that South Africa were 18/2 at the end of 10 overs.

Miller and Heinrich Klaasen combined for a 95-run stand to help South Africa get back into the game, and both bowled inconsistently with Adam Zampa during the 45-minute rain stoppage. Six of the full eight sixes came off Zampa’s bowling, with the two batsmen hitting two each.

Just as South Africa added 44 runs between the 21st and 30th overs and looked to have stabilized a little, Travis Head hit the ground running in his first innings, knocking back a pair of triples with two balls. Head’s bowling was slow and accurate as he beat Klaasen with a length and slipped it past Klaasen’s outside edge for a knock. On the next ball, Marco Jansen was blocked by a ball pitched from outside off. This highlighted the

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