South Africa have to erase painful memories to beat Australia and reach the Cricket World Cup final

South Africa must combat their horrible history if they are to beat Australia.

South Africa have to erase painful memories to beat Australia and reach the Cricket World Cup final
Heinrich Klaasen has been one of the stars for South Africa
Heinrich Klaasen has been one of the stars for South Africa (Picture: Getty Images)

Sports fans in South Africa are dreaming about winning both the Rugby and Cricket World Cups in less than a month.

But before the Proteas think about joining the Springboks in a remarkable double, they will have to put an end to an unwanted treble when they face Australia in Kolkata.

South Africa have never reached the Cricket World Cup final and have lost three semi-finals to the Baggy Greens.

The most bizarre defeat was in 1999 with the two sides tied on 213 runs after Lance Klusener crashed two glorious shots through the covers to the Edgbaston boundary, leaving the Proteas needing just one run from four balls with a wicket remaining.

Allan Donald, one of the greatest bowlers of all time, with 602 wickets for his country, was at the other end and the very next delivery he set off for a run he was never going to make and was fortunate Darren Lehmann missed the stumps.

The following ball Klusener set off for the winning run only for Donald to freeze. When he did start to head towards the other end he dropped his bat, was run out and it was game over. Australia advanced to the final thanks to their superior run rate in the super-six stage.

Glenn Maxwell has impressed for Australia
Glenn Maxwell has impressed for Australia (Picture: Getty Images)

There were two subsequent painful defeats to the Baggy Greens but none hurt as much as that dark day in Birmingham.

South Africa will be relieved that, should there be a tie at the end of this match, there will be a Super Over shootout which will be repeated if necessary until one team emerges triumphant.

They will also be encouraged that they’ve won seven of the last nine one-day internationals with Australia, including the last four, and their meeting in the group stage ended with a convincing victory by 134 runs.

In fact, all four recent wins came with the Proteas batting first and their chances this time around will be boosted if they win the toss and make Australia bowl.

Teams batting first have won seven of the last 11 matches at Eden Gardens so it could pay to wait and see what the team winning the toss decides to do with South Africa 6/5 to prevail with SpreadEx and Australia 3/4 to emerge triumphant with Paddy Power.

Aiden Markram is 11/2 with the same firm and Betfair to be the Proteas top batter and Marnus Labuschagne is 7/1 with the two bookies to be Australia’s top scorer.

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