Australia came up with another brilliant performance to beat South Africa comprehensively in the second semi-final clash at St. Lucia on 25 April. The match was a one sided contest with Australia dominating all departments of the game-bowling, batting and fielding. But having said that, The South Africa failed to lift their game for the big occasion and were scuttled in an ignominious manner by the Aussies!
South Africa won the toss and chose to bat first, a decision many thought was bold and aggressive! But the team failed to stand by that decision. Opening the batting, Captain Graeme Smith on who rested the responsibility of leading the assault got out early in what I would call a ‘silly’ shot in the context of the game. In a semi-final taking a risk of that nature in the early overs when the ball is swinging is a near suicide and Smith committed that cleanly with no regrets! He stepped down the track to Nathan Bracken who made the ball swing in the air and go away from Smith who missed the line completely and got his stumps knocked over.
Then came Kallis, the man who was looked upon to weather the storm. He looked calm to begin and played a couple of good shot before succumbing to a stupid and impetuous shot! After having struck a boundary by giving charge to McGrath, he stepped down the track in very next ball and tried to play the same shot. In the process, he was clean bowled!
After that the Proteas never seemed to recover as the Aussies ‘choked’ them nicely with some brilliant display of disciplined bowling. Both Shaun Tait and Glenn McGrath proved too hot for the South Africans who buckled under their line and length bowling!
It was only Herschelle Gibbs and Justin Kemp who played a good knock of 39 and 49 runs respectively as others like Boucher, Prince Hall and Pollock got out to single digit scores! The South African team was bundled out for a mere 149 runs in 44 overs.
The Aussies got a hiccup early on in their innings as the lost Gilchrist who was bowled by Langeveldt for 1 but ‘Haydos’ Hayden and skipper Ponting settled all the remaining nerves for the Aussies. Hayden made 40 while Ponting made 22 from just 25 deliveries.
Australia won the match inside 31 overs losing just 3 wickets. The semi-final turned out to be an anti-climax as all the expectations of the fans and the viewers were razed to the ground with a horrendous and atrocious performance by South Africa who justified their title of ‘chokers‘ by yesterday’s performance to some extent!