Proteas take massive momentum into Australia World Cup semi

The one worrying factor is that the Proteas have won easily setting the score but have struggled chasing so far at the World Cup.

People say that when a competition hits the business end, previous results don’t matter and anything can happen on the day, but the Proteas can still take plenty of confidence into their World Cup semifinal against Australia at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Thursday.

South Africa have had the wood over their Southern Hemisphere rivals over the past few games, and with many of those results having come in the past two months, they will still be very fresh in the minds of the players heading into the vital knockout clash.

It could have been very different, however, with the Proteas in deep trouble early in their recent home ODI series against the Aussies, after the visitors took a two-nil lead back in September.

The Australians had already blitzed the hosts three-nil in the T20I series and had started the ODI series with a three-wicket win and a thumping 123-run win, to be five on the trot and well on for a series win.

But the Proteas had other ideas as they rallied superbly to clinch three straight wins, taking the series 3-2 and heading into the World Cup with good momentum and confidence.

They then backed that up with their fourth win in a row over the Aussies in the pool stage, and the Proteas should be pretty confident facing their old rivals in the semis.

The other big boost from their dominance is that the wins were all by huge margins, with the three on home soil by 111 runs, 164 runs and 122 runs respectively, while their pool stage win was by a thumping 134 runs.

Worrying factor

The one concerning factor is that in all of those games the Proteas have set the score, and they have shown so far at the World Cup that they are vulnerable chasing, which could make the toss extremely crucial.

It has been an incredible run for the Proteas at the showpiece event, thrashing Sri Lanka by 102 runs, Australia by 134 runs, England by 229 runs, Bangladesh by 149 runs and New Zealand by 190 runs.

But chasing they have lost to the Netherlands by 38 runs, edged Pakistan by one wicket, been destroyed by 243 runs against India and then clinched a nervy five-wicket win over Afghanistan in their final pool match.

On that evidence, setting a target has to be the name of the game if the Proteas win the toss against Australia and hopefully they can continue their fantastic form when batting first.

They may have to do it without their captain Temba Bavuma who is in a race against time to prove his fitness after picking up a hamstring injury against Afghanistan, and if he is ruled out it is likely that Aiden Markram will take the captain’s arm band.