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Semi-final: Australia v South Africa
St Lucia, 25 April 2007

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World Cup semi-final, St Lucia: Australia 153-3 beat South Africa 149 by seven wickets

By Oliver Brett

Jacques Kallis
Kallis made room to drive McGrath, and paid the penalty

Australia thrashed South Africa in the World Cup semi-final in St Lucia and will now meet Sri Lanka in a re-match of the 1996 final on Saturday.

Glenn McGrath (3-18) reduced South Africa to 27-5 before Shaun Tait (4-39) destroyed the lower order, despite Justin Kemp's tenacious 49.

All out for 149 in 44 overs, South Africa were clutching at straws.

Matthew Hayden and Michael Clarke led an unflustered run chase as Australia won by seven wickets in the 32nd over.

Clarke finished unbeaten on 60, and Andrew Symonds hit the winning runs with a drive through mid-wicket for four to cap another near-perfect performance from Australia.

But after so much eager anticipation ahead of the match, it was disappointing to see South Africa bundled out for their lowest score in World Cups.

606: DEBATE
MC

It was the third time they had been defeated in the semi-finals and they have never gone any further.

Graeme Smith was delighted to win the toss and bat first on a wicket expected to get slower as the game developed.

He also said he had "never seen such a confident South African squad".

But that bullish feeling faded when first he, and then the hugely-experienced Jacques Kallis, were bowled inside the first six overs.

Despite obvious swing on offer for both Nathan Bracken and McGrath - surprisingly opening the bowling ahead of Tait - Smith was keen to take charge.

Shaun Tait
Tait was too hot to handle

He had only faced four balls when he sashayed down the wicket to Bracken, only for the ball to move off the seam and peg back his off-stump.

Kallis had been goaded by the Aussies in the run-up to the match, skipper Ricky Ponting claiming he scored too slowly.

Perhaps affronted, he backed away to hit one boundary through the covers off McGrath, but fatally attempted a similar shot the following ball to a delivery of much fuller length.

It careered into his stumps and South Africa were 12-2.

AB De Villiers enjoyed some success pulling the short ball but was next back to the pavilion after edging Shaun Tait behind.

But if 26-3 looked bad, two further wickets for the addition of just one run represented total disaster.

McGrath did the damage, picking up the wickets of Ashwell Prince and Mark Boucher off successive balls.

Kemp prevented the hat-trick and featured in a restorative stand of 60 with Herschelle Gibbs (39), who was lucky to survive an appeal for caught-behind on four.

Matthew Hayden
Hayden was in typically imperious form in the stroll to victory

But Ponting shuffled his bowlers around calmly, bringing Tait back for a destructive second spell which saw off both Gibbs and Andrew Hall - beaten for pace and edging behind.

Brad Hogg's variations were too much for Shaun Pollock. Then Andre Nel, after a 45-minute vigil, became Tait's third victim.

Shane Watson finished it all off by bowling Charl Langeveldt in the same over that Kemp was inexplicably dropped by Tait at long-on.

Despite removing Adam Gilchrist in the second over of Australia's run chase, South Africa's one-dimensional bowling attack - featuring one right-arm seamer after another - was never likely to apply much pressure.

With such a small total to defend, everything needed to go the fielding team's way.

So Prince's drop at mid-wicket off Ponting - admittedly an extremely tough chance - was not the way to go about things.

With a couple of possible run-out chances also going begging, the second wicket - Nel bowling Ponting for 22 with the total on 44 - came too late.

Hayden cruised past 600 runs in the tournament and Clarke came out and timed the ball sweetly.

Finally, Hayden (41) got bored and lobbed a catch to long-on, leaving Clarke to hit the only half-century of the match.




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