Australia’s path to winning a sixth Cricket World Cup is now a lot harder, after their comprehensive thrashing at the hands of South Africa on Thursday.
The loss takes Australia’s record to 0-2 from two starts after they were thoroughly beaten by India in their opening match of the tournament, which is being playing in India.
Australia’s odds have now plummeted to $8 to win the World Cup, after being as short as $4.50 with some cricket betting sites.
The loss to the much-improved South Africans was not without controversy, with the Aussies set to seek clarity about the contentious dismissal of Marcus Stoinis.
In the contested moment, Stoinis was deemed caught behind, although replays showed the ball hitting his hand when it was detached from the bat.
“The umpires really didn’t know what was going on,” commented Labuschagne, expressing the prevalent confusion on the field. Screenshots from the broadcast indicated a clear gap between Stoinis’s gloves at the moment of impact.
Former Australian skipper Aaron Finch remarked during commentary, “That bottom hand is a long way away from the top hand.” Stoinis, clearly taken aback, engaged in a discussion with the on-field umpires before departing.
Highlighting the critical nature of such decisions, especially in tight games, Labuschagne stressed, “It’s a World Cup and we don’t want small decisions that can be avoided to change the outcomes of games.”
In another controversial decision, Steve Smith was declared out LBW, contradicting the on-field umpire’s initial ruling. Labuschagne stated, “It looked like it must have hit him on leg and almost straightened onto the stumps.”
The outcome leaves Australia seeking redemption and emphasizing the importance of their forthcoming clash with Sri Lanka. “We’ve got to get better and we’ve got to make sure that we come back stronger for the next fixture,” Labuschagne concluded.
The South Africans total of 7-311 was spearheaded by a 109 (106 balls) to Quinton de Kock, while Aiden Markram’s 56 (44 balls) was also critical towards the tail-end of the innings. Part-timer Glenn Maxwell was the pick of the Australian bowlers with 2-34 from his 10 overs, but overall the fielding was dismal and the pace bowlers, particularly captain Pat Cummins, did not look threatening.
In response, Australia never got going, with Labuschagne top-scoring with 46 from 74 balls, with Mitchell Starc’s 27 the next best. Kagiso Rabada (3-33), Keshave Maharaj (2-30) and Lungi Ngidi (1-18 from eight overs) were the pick of the South African bowlers.
Australia is due to play Sri Lanka on Monday at Ekana Sports City, with this clash crucial to their chances of advancing through the pool stage of the Cricket World Cup.
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