Yes, it’s South Africa and Australia in a Cricket World Cup semifinal again
Australia, yup, them again in a World Cup semifinal.
There’ll be the usual reminders of 1999.
Wherever Glenn McGrath is, he will reflect on 2007.
The topic of choking will be rehashed — though it's been regularly thrown at the Proteas throughout the tournament.
South Africa will face Australia in a World Cup semifinal for the third time, an outcome that was confirmed after Pat Cummins' men defeated Afghanistan in a heart-stopping encounter in Mumbai on Tuesday.
That match is likely to be played in Kolkata on Thursday, though that outcome will only be determined once Pakistan complete their round-robin phase against England on Saturday
Should they win well enough and New Zealand and Afghanistan — who face the Proteas on Friday — lose their last matches, then Pakistan would be in the semifinal.
In that case, they would face India and that match cannot take place in Mumbai for political reasons, so will be played in Kolkata.
Which would mean the Proteas and Australia will play in Mumbai — a match that would take place on Wednesday.
For now, there is simply relief for the Australians at having finalised their play-off spot after the greatest ODI innings of all time by Glenn Maxwell.
“It was an incredible knock,” said Proteas bowling coach Eric Simons.
“The tactics [Afghanistan] used in bowling to him probably suited him and the way he was playing. Our fielding placings and tactics would have been different.”
They’ll get to test those tactics in the semifinal.
The Proteas and Australia have met regularly recently, including a five-match series in South Africa, where the Proteas came from 0-2 down to win the series.
It was one in which they learnt a lot about the opposition — though the Australians were missing half the players in the World Cup squad, including Maxwell.
“We learnt an enormous amount about ourselves in the series against Australia in South Africa, when they came as hard as they did at us. We have specific tactics about who we want to bowl to which batter, how we want to bowl and manage that,” said Simons.
The Proteas dominated the round-robin match in Lucknow, winning by 134 runs.
However, both teams know the circumstances of a week 2 round-robin match and a semifinal will be vastly different.
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