Travis Head, who has proven to be Australia’s godsend since returning from injury and joining the team as opener, started the match with enthusiasm. The intent was clear and despite losing David Warner and the in-form Mitchell Marsh early on, the Aussies pressed on.
Interestingly enough, South African skipper Temba Bavuma waited until the 12th over to bring on main spinner Keshav Maharaj despite their part-time spinner Aiden Markram batting in the powerplay. The Australian chase was in danger of being derailed when Maharaj and China bowler Tabraiz Shamsi took control of the match in the middle overs.
It was also completely irresponsible for Glenn Maxwell, fresh off his breakthrough innings of 201, to attempt a reverse move against Shamsi, who squared the ball over. Steve Smith, who has had a pretty good tournament so far, proved his worth by scraping 30 off 62 balls before suffering a sudden haemorrhage.
Only on Wednesday, former South Africa captain AB de Villiers struck an optimistic note in his media column, saying this could be the year South Africa make their first final in five attempts (1992, 1999, 2007 and 2015). There was sufficient reason for such a belief; as this group looked to be covering all the bases with a threatening top-six batting line-up, a competent pace attack and the luxury of two quality spinners for a change.
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