Australia overcame a low-scoring thriller to book their place in the final of the eighth ODI World Cup – LSB

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Australia 215 for 7 (Al-Ras 62, Al Shamsi 2-42, Coetzee 2-47) South Africa 212 (Miller 101, Klaassen 47, Starc 3-34, Hazlewood 2-12) with three wickets.

Yawning. Australia are in the World Cup final again.

Except these weren’t Steve Waugh’s mental monsters or Ricky Ponting’s Invincibles. These men were infallible. They almost didn’t succeed. South Africa refused to allow them to do so.

Surprisingly, the winning goal was also the most watchable score scored by both teams, in what was for a very long time the greatest international match of all time. 213.
This classic, like the one that came out in 1999, owes a lot to spinners. Keshav Maharaj and Tabrez Shamsi were not so much running the ball as helping her develop her own mind. They worked in tandem for 16 overs, producing a point once every two balls, a misfire once every four balls and almost the same number of wickets as boundaries – 3 for 4.

The men they sent off were Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, and most importantly Glenn Maxwell for a duck.

Australia were 137 for 5.

How did this game come alive?

South Africa posted their lowest score of 10 wickets in 15 years of ODI cricket. 18 to 2. They reached the semi-finals with several of them scoring in a single match more than 14 times. The tournament’s most feared batting line-up shut down like a computer that had picked up a virus. Only David Miller was immune. He compiled 101 for 1 from his end. The others collapsed to 100 for 9 of them.

Things didn’t get much better in the chase either. South Africa needed 52 balls to reach their first boundary. Australia needs two. Marco Janssen leaked 12 runs off one delivery. Reeza Hendricks dropped his head at 40 and watched him hit a hat-trick from four hits – one of which was a drop as well – to reach his half-century. More than half the score they had to defend was gone in the 15th.

The ghosts of the knockout past have arrived in the Gardens of Eden with popcorn and everything.

But Shasmi asked them to stay the course. He was the one who made Labuschagne look absolutely ridiculous in the 16th over, an lbw cry disallowed even though his leg was literally leg before the wicket. He was the one to sweep Maxwell back leg, a long hop that suddenly turned into the single most important delivery of this game, sneaking under the bat that had last week conjured up a hundred to recover the lost cause and into the leg butt.

Al Shamsi roamed the entire arena in celebration. Temba Bavuma maintained better control of his feet but his eyes were on fire.

The ghosts of the knockout past began to flee when Josh Inglis entered.

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