The Proteas set a formidable target of 311-7, leaving Australia in a precarious position as they lost six wickets with only 70 runs on the board.Australia eventually succumbed to a total of 177 with 55 balls remaining.
South Africa’s batting innings saw Australia dropping five crucial catches, which added to their frustration.
Their woes continued when they embarked on the chase of a 312-run target. South Africa’s fast bowlers wreaked havoc on Australia’s top order, with Marco Jansen and Lungi Ngidi dismissing openers Mitchell Marsh and David Warner.
Kagiso Rabada then secured three quick wickets, controversially dismissing Steve Smith for 19 through a reviewed lbw decision, clean-bowling Josh Inglis for five, and smartly catching Marcus Stoinis down the legside for a mere five runs.
ustralia contested Stoinis’ dismissal, as it appeared he had removed his hand from the bat when the ball brushed his glove on its way to De Kock.
In the midst of these wickets falling, off-spinner Keshav Maharaj claimed the pivotal wicket of Glenn Maxwell, who had a forgettable outing, being dismissed for just three.
Realising the uphill battle ahead, Australia shifted their focus to minimizing the damage to their run rate, given the marathon event’s seven remaining pool matches.
At the halfway mark of 25 overs, they inched to 95-6 before Marnus Labuschagne (46) and Mitchell Starc (27) put on 69 runs for the seventh wicket. However, their partnership crumbled in a span of seven balls, and the innings unraveled as leg-spinner Tabraiz Shamsi mopped up the tail.
In the earlier part of the day, Quinton de Kock, who reached his 19th ODI century with 109 runs off 90 balls, led South Africa’s batting attack. He departed while attempting a reverse sweep in the 35th over, bowled by off-spinner Maxwell.
Aiden Markram then took the reins, racing to 56, seizing the opportunity after being dropped by Australia skipper Pat Cummins when he had just scored a single run.
ICC World Cup 2023: South Africa thrash Australia by 134 runs to top the group
Australia’s fielding day was plagued by missed opportunities, as even South Africa’s captain, Temba Bavuma, had two lifelines when he was on 19 and 32. His luck finally ran out at 35 when he was caught at midwicket by Warner off Maxwell.
Bavuma and De Kock had formed a formidable opening partnership, amassing 108 runs. Following Markram’s dismissal by Cummins, South Africa saw Jansen (26) and David Miller (17) take them past the 300-run mark.
Both Miller and Jansen were given a reprieve in the penultimate over when Starc dropped Miller, and Stoinis granted Jansen a second chance, both off Cummins.
(With AFP inputs)