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Australia edge South Africa to set up final against India

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Five-time champions Australia battled through to Sunday’s final of the 50-over World Cup against India with a nervy three-wicket win against South Africa in the second semi-final on Thursday.

Australia laid the foundations for a place in the final after bowling out South Africa for a below-par 212 despite David Miller’s defiant 101 at the Eden Gardens.

The chase, however, was not as straightforward as Pat Cummins and his team would have liked.

Man-of-the-match Travis Head (62) led their rollicking start before a mid-innings wobble put Australia in a spot of bother.

South Africa did not let big partnerships bloom but their inadequate total meant Australia eventually prevailed with 16 balls to spare to make the final for the eighth time.

“Nerve-wracking couple of hours but great effort and a great game,” said Cummins, who was especially pleased with his side’s fielding. “It’s something we talk a lot about. It wasn’t up to scratch at the start of the tournament.”

The chase has not been South Africa’s forte in the tournament and Temba Bavuma’s decision to bat first under an overcast sky seemed to be a no-brainer.

Bavuma played the match despite not having fully recovered from a hamstring strain and his four-ball duck suggested sitting out would probably have been a wiser decision for him.

Australia ramped up the pressure with their electric fielding and Cummins led by example, taking a brilliant catch to send back the other South African opener Quinton de Kock.

Australia were so dominant that South Africa had to wait until the ninth over for their first boundary and were 18-2 after their 10 powerplay overs.

It soon snowballed into a full-fledged crisis and South Africa slumped to 24-4 in the 12th over.

Play interrupted

Drizzle held up play after 14 overs and when the action resumed Heinrich Klaasen (47) and Miller rebuilt the innings, taking South Africa past the 100 mark in 28 overs.

Klaasen hit Adam Zampa for back-to-back sixes but Australia regained control after part-time spinner Head broke the 95-run stand, claiming two wickets in two balls.

Miller brought up his hundred with a six off Cummins but departed in the same over trying to clear the rope again.

In contrast, Australia got off to a flyer, plundering 60 runs from the first 10 overs with Warner smashing four sixes in his 29.

Bavuma introduced spin in the seventh over and the move immediately paid off as Aiden Markram bowled David Warner with his first delivery.

Kagiso Rabada dismissed Mitchell Marsh in the next over but South Africa’s catching was rather sloppy and Head was the beneficiary on two occasions either side of his fifty.

Just when Australia appeared to be cruising to a comprehensive victory, South Africa’s spinners injected fresh excitement into the contest.

Keshav Maharaj bowled Head through the gate and Tabraiz Shamsi dismissed Marnus Labuschagne and Glenn Maxwell to jolt Australia out of any complacency that might have crept in.

Steve Smith made 30 and Josh Inglis scored 28 but South Africa kept fighting back. However, Cummins and Starc combined to foil the Proteas and get Australia over the line.

“Quite hard to put into words,” a dejected Bavuma said. “Our character came through. It was a dog fight.

“The way we started with the bat and the ball was probably the turning point, we lost it quite badly there.”

(Reuters)

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Chamari’s unbeaten 195 powers SL pull off record run-chase

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Chamari Athapaththu smashed the third-highest individual score in women’s ODIs to help Sri Lanka pull off the highest-ever successful run-chase in women’s ODIs.

Chamari Athapaththu was at her brutal best as Sri Lanka stunned South Africa with a record run-chase in Potchefstroom to level the three-match ICC Women’s Championship ODI series and end a highly successful bilateral tour to the Rainbow Nation.

Chasing 302 to win, Athapaththu led Sri Lanka’s fightback with a stunning hundred, and remained unbeaten on 195, the third-highest score in women’s ODIs, as the visitors overhauled the target with 33 balls to spare.

Athapaththu’s innings was also the second highest individual score in a successful run chase in ODI cricket – both men’s and women’s – marginally behind the magnificent 201* Glenn Maxwell put together for Australia against Afghanistan at last year’s ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup.

Earlier, Laura Wolvaardt continued her stellar run in the bilateral series against Sri Lanka with a second ODI hundred in as many matches. The opener smashed an unbeaten 184 to take South Africa to 301 in the third and final ODI of the series.

Wolvaardt’s knock is the highest score by a South African in women’s ODIs and was also the fourth-highest in women’s ODIs for a brief while, going past Athapaththu’s 178* against Australia in 2017.

Wolvaardt, who had made a hundred in the T20I leg of the tour, also smashed a century in the second ODI in Kimberley on Saturday. On Wednesday, she added another ton to her tally with a spectacular knock.

But her brilliance was overshadowed by her opposite number, Athapaththu, who stole the limelight with a stunning hundred to seal the first-ever successful run-chase of over 300 in women’s ODIs.

Australia had held the record for the highest run-chase in women’s ODIs for more than a decade. In 2012, Australia chased down a target of 289 against New Zealand. Last year, they also chased down 283 against India at the Wankhede.

(icc-cricket.com)

(Except for the headline, this story, originally published by icc-cricket.com has not been edited by SLM staff)

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SL badminton player qualifies for 2024 Olympics

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Sri Lankan badminton player Viren Nettasinghe has qualified for the 2024 Olympic Games.

According to the Sri Lankan sports ministry, 20-year-old Nettasinghe is one of the youngest players in the world to secure direct qualification for the tournament.

The 2024 Olympic Games will take place in Paris, France from July 26.

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Mathews alerts to a scam

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Leading cricketer Angelo Mathews has alerted that there is a scam underway, using his name.

Taking to X, Mathews has said the same :

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