Good morning and welcome to dwell protection of the second World Cup semi-final which takes place solely 11 months after the match started. At Eden Gardens at present five-times winners Australia tackle South Africa who’re competing of their fifth semi-final, having misplaced the earlier 4, a document which has led them to be stereotyped and mocked as ‘bottlers’ and ‘chokers’.
It’s a designation that rests extra on 1999 and the epic at Edgbaston, the best ODI in historical past, reasonably than 1992 after they have been completed by the rain and their very own dawdling over-rate, 2007 after they got here up towards an excellent facet and 2015 when Jean-Paul Duminy’s misleading kind with the ball made them go up towards the co-hosts New Zealand with no correct fifth bowler and ended up costing them one other rain-affected match. There is way extra nuance to 1999 than most enable. Being choked by Steve Waugh’s relentless bullies (and that’s a praise) just isn’t the identical as choking by yourself worry.
Rain is going to be one other challenge in Kolkata after in a single day squalls however there’s a reserve day ought to we lose an excessive amount of play. Should the sport be washed out, South Africa will undergo to their first remaining by dint of beating Australia to second place within the group stage and defeating them of their head-to-head. Since that drubbing by advantage of Quinton de Kock’s century and Kagiso Rabada’s three for 33, Australia have rallied to win seven in succession, counting on some miraculous performances by Glenn Maxwell and Adam Zampa and glorious contributions from Mitchell Marsh, Travis Head and, above all, David Warner. But they haven’t been too convincing with the ball and each Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins must discover a method to do greater than stifle and frustrate with brief stuff and slower balls.
This is South Africa’s to win. They have the extra dynamic bowling assault and a prime six by which everybody has chipped in with at the very least one match-defining show. Australia, as we all know solely too nicely, typically discover a approach however the Proteas ought to make like England within the 2019 semi-final, banish all of the ghosts of a troubled previous towards their fiercest rivals and proceed to do what’s obtained them right here in additional sturdy form than any South Africa facet in World Cup historical past. Scars heal.