ICC World Cup 2023: Quinton de Kock Leads Win Over Australia

If South Africa genuinely intends to discreetly navigate the ICC World Cup 2023, they must excel beyond their recent performance. By convincingly outclassing Australia in Lucknow, securing a commanding 134-run victory, they’ve sent an emphatic message impossible to overlook.

Quinton de Kock scored successive centuries in the ICC World Cup 2023. Quinton de Kock amassed 109 runs at the top of the order and South Africa posted a good total of 311 for 7 after being asked to bat. Australia’s decision at the toss, along with their changes to bolster their batting lineup by introducing Josh Inglis and Marcus Stoinis in place of Alex Carey and Cameron Green, proved fruitless. Their lack of bowling impetus and fielding errors carried over into their chase. So, this was all but doomed by the 18th over and stood at 70 for 6. Two consecutive losses leave them with minimal margin for error in their remaining seven league stage matches.

Australia’s lackluster performance could be attributed to the unfortunate decisions of umpires. Steven Smith was declared out LBW after a DRS review overturned the on-field decision. But, despite the naked eye suggesting the ball was headed wide of the leg stump. An even more contentious decision was the dismissal of Marcus Stoinis, who was given out for a leg-side catch. Stoinis’ bottom hand was clearly off the bat when it made contact with the ball. But, television umpire Richard Kettleborough indicated it was the top hand in contact, contradicting the front-on view. Kagiso Rabada profited from both decisions, finishing with an impressive figure of 3 for 33.

However, Australia should reflect on their own mistakes, including missing seven opportunities in the first half of the game. Three of those chances fell to Temba Bavuma. A top edge at 15 caught Adam Zampa off-guard at deep third, and an edge off the leg-spinner went unnoticed when the Proteas’ skipper was on 19. Bavuma was fortunate to continue his innings at 31 when a relay catch on the midwicket boundary went awry. Substitute fielder Sean Abbott’s toss sailed over Mitchell Starc’s head.

Pat Cummins dropped a straightforward caught-and-bowled chance from Aiden Markram. Then, progress from 1 to 56 in just 44 deliveries. Two more errors occurred in the penultimate over of the innings: Starc missed a chance to dismiss David Miller (at 10) at deep square leg. Also, Stoinis botched a simpler opportunity at cover off Marco Jansen (at 25). Add a missed run-out opportunity for de Kock at the end of the sixth over while attempting a single. The collective missed opportunities total an astonishing 170 runs.

The crux of de Kock’s onslaught lay in the precision of each of his aggressive shots. Early swing and seam movement, facilitated by Starc and Josh Hazlewood, respectively, resulted in a restrained start. However, de Kock increased the tempo by hitting a six over square leg off Starc, followed by two fours, one guided and the other driven square, off Hazlewood in the fifth and sixth overs. de Kock’s controlled aggression allowed Bavuma to set his own rhythm, contributing 17 runs out of the 53 in the powerplay and later. 35 runs in their opening partnership of 108 before falling to Maxwell with a catch at deep midwicket.

Although Maxwell countered with a maiden over against de Kock in the 22nd over. So, the left-hander made amends in the 23rd with two consecutive sixes over backward square leg off Hazlewood.

The second-wicket partnership reached a half-century before Rassie van der Dussen’s dismissal to Zampa. He failed to clear the straight field, and this time, Abbott had enough room to complete the dismissal himself. Just eight deliveries later, de Kock hit his fifth six, taking his tally to 100 against Australia in ODIs.

With a score of 171 for 2 and 20 overs remaining, an insurmountable total loomed over Cummins, evident when he challenged a speculative outside edge off his bowling for de Kock, who had reached 104. De Kock attempted to force the issue with a reverse sweep but gave the wicket to Glen Maxwell.

Maxwell claimed his second wicket with this dismissal, and he would go on to complete his 10 overs without conceding a boundary. Markram and Heinrich Klaasen joined forces to inflict further misery on Hazlewood in the 38th over, with three boundaries costing 14 runs. The duo accumulated another fifty-run partnership, this time in just 41 deliveries. Markram took just as many deliveries to secure his half-century. While Zampa conceded 25 runs in his final two overs.

At that point, with the score at 263 for 3 and seven overs to go, Australia resorted to slower deliveries to stem the run flow. Cummins dismissed Markram, guiding a cutter to backward point, and Klaasen top-edged Hazlewood’s slower bouncer to Inglis, all within seven deliveries.

Jansen hit a six off Starc but then narrowly cleared the fielder for four in the ring. Starc later dropped Miller when he was at 10, appearing to have held a difficult chance at backward square leg, only for the ball to pop out as he hit the ground. Two deliveries later, Stoinis missed a high chance at cover, giving Jansen a lifeline.

Starc bowled a good last over and the innings ended with Jansen and Miller wickets. The final over yielded just one run through a leg bye. Australia had managed to limit the damage to just 48 runs in the last seven overs, and it appeared as though they were making a comeback.

Unfortunately, South Africa’s fast bowlers have been paying close attention in this ICC World Cup 2023. Amidst the swing generated with the new Kookaburra balls, they employed variations that led to the quick dismissals of Australia’s openers, Mitchell Marsh and David Warner, in seven deliveries by the end of the seventh over. Marsh skied a delivery to Bavuma at mid-off, while Warner slapped a similar ball straight to cover in the second of Lungi Ngidi’s two maiden overs in his 50th ODI.

Smith’s controversial LBW dismissal came next after he had struck two crisp fours off Rabada. Rabada left no room for doubt when he squared up Inglis and uprooted the right-hander’s off stump. Maxwell’s leading edge and safe catch by Keshav Maharaj, provided Australia’s fifth wicket, with 247 still required from 33.5 overs.

A resilient partnership of 69 runs between Marnus Labuschagne and Starc after Stoinis’s departure. Their sole aim was to preserve their net run rate and salvage some pride before an extra bounce from Jansen. Also, a chip to cover off Maharaj resulted in two more dismissals. Steve Smith and Marcus Stoinis point out the DRS technology in the ICC World Cup 2023 for making wrong decisions.

Cummins and Zampa managed to contribute 32 additional runs between them, and then Tabraiz Shamsi. Filling in for Gerald Coetzee, seized two wickets in three deliveries. Cummins and Hazlewood sent the ball into the off-side, providing a notable achievement for his day.

The moment of triumph arrived with 9.1 overs remaining, though truthfully. The outcome of the match is shocking at the moment. Australia needs to win all matches to stay in the ICC World Cup 2023. Otherwise, they might be out of the tournament.

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