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Aussies defeat South Africa to enter Cricket World Cup final

Travis Head's heroics helped Australia reach the ICC Cricket World Cu final

Australia has snuck past South Africa and set up a blockbuster ICC Cricket World Cup final against India on Sunday.

Travis Head was the catalyst for Australia as his heroics helped them a three wicket victory over old foe South Africa, securing their spot in an eighth Cricket World Cup final against host nation India.

While Head had struggled earlier in the World Cup, he rose to the occasion on Thursday evening, displaying his prowess on both fronts.

Also read: Cricket World Cup final betting promotions for Indians

The turning point of the match came when Head, operating as a part-time off-spinner, dismantled a threatening 95-run partnership between South African centurion David Miller and Heinrich Klaasen. Head’s delivery cleaned Klaasen’s leg stump, halting the duo’s momentum, after they helped the Proteas recover from 4-24.

Reflecting on his critical breakthrough, Head admitted his surprise at dismissing Klaasen, with a ball that did not do much.

“Seeing the wicket, I was prepared to bowl a few overs … I am always keen to have a bowl and contribute.” he said.

Head also dismissed Marco Jansen with a leg-before-wicket decision.

However, South Africa’s hopes remained alive as Miller reached a vital century, offering resistance against the Australian attack, notably leg-spinner Adam Zampa. Miller’s heroics were, unfortunately, cut short as he attempted to replicate a boundary but fell to a catch by Head on the rope.

Australia’s dominance early on, led by Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood, rattled South Africa’s top order. Hazlewood’s remarkable performance, with an economical 2-12 in eight overs, marked the most frugal figures by an Australian bowler in over eight overs since 2006.

Despite Bavuma’s acknowledgment of the missed opportunities by South Africa, particularly their initial struggles, Miller’s valiant century revived hope for a competitive total.

The chase seemed straightforward initially for Australia, with a blazing start courtesy of David Warner and Travis Head reaching 60 without loss after six overs. However, the match took a dramatic turn due to questionable shot selections, a stunning catch by Rassie van der Dussen, and impressive spin bowling by Tabraiz Shamsi and Keshav Maharaj.

Though Head showcased aggressive shot-making, he encountered several close calls. Surviving dropped catches and near misses, he managed to score a crucial 62 before falling victim to Shamsi’s deceptive spin.

As Head departed, Australia’s batting line-up faced a steady decline, leaving the match finely poised at 3-106. Marnus Labuschagne’s uncertain stay at the crease and subsequent dismissal further added to Australia’s woes.

Glenn Maxwell’s brief innings and Steve Smith’s departure heightened the tension, leaving Australia needing 39 runs with only four wickets in hand. However, resilient partnerships between Josh Inglis and Mitchell Starc, and then Starc and Pat Cummins, steered Australia to a tense yet exhilarating victory.

India is a hot favourite to win the World Cup final, having been priced at $1.46 with some cricket betting sites, while the Aussies as long as $2.80, with these prices available at Dafabet.

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