Cummins and Starc Lead Australia to World Cup Final as Proteas’ Knockout Curse Persists

24 years ago, at Edgbaston, Australia and South Africa tied at a number that would be written into cricket folklore. Australia won the thrilling three-wicket victory, matching England’s tension levels and seal a Ashes lead after 24 years. Australia successfully chased Proteas’ 213 target and reserved a spot alongside India in the 2023 World Cup final. Australia restricted Proteas to 212 with a stunning display by Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc, and a crucial double-wicket cameo from a nominal part-timer, Travis Head. Australia, having compiled vast runs in the tournament, were reduced to 4/24 within 12 overs before Travis Head’s spectacular recovery. Proteas, despite a strong finish, failed to regain momentum. A nerve-wracking match, with moments to rue for the Proteas but Australia’s path to victory was set up by Starc and Hazlewood. It was ‘crazy,’ as Head described, and the spin pair Maharaj and Shamsi forced Australia to scrape through.