Proteas quicks use Aussie lessons to cause havoc

Despite losing star bowler Anrich Nortje pre-tournament, South Africa’s fast bowlers are firing at the World Cup

Aussies stunned by pace onslaught after de Kock ton

South Africa's quicks have made a big statement with a devastating new ball display in Lucknow. 

The Proteas' red-hot batting line up have rightfully taken most the attention after their recent fireworks, which most recently included compiling the highest score (5-428) in men's World Cup history against Sri Lanka on Saturday. 

But Thursday night was a reminder that even without the injured Anrich Nortje, this attack is the real deal with a good combination of pace, control and left-arm, right-arm variety.

Pace ace Kagiso Rabada was the chief destroyer with three wickets in a six-over spell that left Australia's chase in tatters.

He was ably assisted by Lungi Ngidi, who conceded only nine runs in his first five overs as the Aussies couldn't get him away inside the powerplay.

Both sides agreed that South Africa had the more favourable bowling conditions, with the rising humidity under lights encouraging the ball to do a bit more moving. 

"Today under lights it just seemed to zip that extra bit more, Rabada told reporters following South Africa's 134-run win.

"With a bit of the moisture at night it just did a bit more."

Australia's top scorer, Marnus Labuschagne agreed, saying "they bowled a nice length, a length that was tough for scoring.

"The ball just did the talking. The ball was swinging, the ball was seaming. It certainly felt like it was doing more at night that it did in the afternoon for us."

For the second match in a row Rabada wasn't given the new ball, a call he said was a "team decision".

But it mattered little as the 28-year-old knocked the wind out of Australia's sails with his electric performance from the south end of the ground. 

Two of Radaba's wickets required third umpire intervention, first Steve Smith with a ball that ball tracking said was smashing into leg stump and second Marcus Stoinis, a lucky one down the leg side which feathered the allrounder's glove. 

Controversy and confusion followed both of those dismissals but there was no doubting his wicket of Josh Inglis, a spectacular clean bowled. 

Speared in at Inglis' pads, the ball left the recalled 'keeper late in its trajectory, crashing into his middle and off-stump.

Kagiso Rabada celebrates the wicket of Josh Inglis // ICC-Getty

It left Inglis' mouth agape in shock as Rabada wheeled away in his trademark, arms-spread aeroplane celebration. 

The fiery quick also drew seven plays and misses and found the inside edge several times in his unrelenting spell, causing issues for Marnus Labuschagne and Glenn Maxwell.

When he entered the attack, Australia were 2-42 and in trouble.

When he left the attack, they were 6-80 and all but done. 

Opening spell figures 


Ngidi: 5-1-9-1


Rabada: 6-1-22-3

But it wasn't just getting the better of the conditions that saw South Africa out-bowl Australia. 

Commentator Aaron Finch revealed on the broadcast that Eric Simons, the former South Africa allrounder who just last month officially joined the team as bowling coach, had said during the inning break that the Proteas would use Australia's success in the last 10 overs (where they restricted South Africa to 4-79) as their bowling blueprint. 

Late in their bowling innings the Aussies found that digging cutters or off-pace deliveries into the pitch were the most effective at limiting runs. 

And Simons and the Proteas took notice. 

"We saw how they bowled at the back-end," Ngidi told reporters after the match. 

"Lots of change of pace, into the wicket. We knew that would be something that we could use as well. They pretty much told us what to do.

"I was surprised to see it grip as much as it did." 

Aussies shocked after curious reviews go Proteas' way

Ngidi removed the dangerous and in-form David Warner after he tied the left hander down for five consecutive dot balls.

Ngidi bowled a mix of slower balls (first and fifth deliveries) and on-pace balls with a stacked off-side field, which Warner couldn't penetrate. 

Staring down the barrel of a maiden over, Warner threw his hands at the last ball of the seventh over, picking out van der Dussen at point who took a simple catch. 

Ngidi, who was presented before play with his 50th ODI cap, bowled unchanged through the Powerplay for figures of 1-9 from five overs. 

The sustained spells from Ngidi and Rabada (five and six overs respectively) under the evening skies contrasted with their opponents' approach – the longest spell by an Australian quick was three overs. 

Of course, the sapping afternoon temperature was a major factor in that, with Lucknow hitting its high of 35C when South Africa began their innings compared to the 26C it dropped to by the night session. 

The shorter spells hampered Australia's ability to create pressure even with Glenn Maxwell proving miserly (2-34) at the other end with his off-spin.

Australia's 2023 ODI World Cup fixtures

October 8: Lost to India by six wickets

October 12: Lost to South Africa by 134 runs

October 16: v Sri Lanka, Lucknow (D/N), 7.30pm AEDT

October 20: v Pakistan, Bengaluru (D/N), 7.30pm AEDT

October 25: v Netherlands, Delhi (D/N), 7.30pm AEDT

October 28: v New Zealand, Dharamsala, 4pm AEDT

November 4: v England, Ahmedabad (D/N), 7.30pm AEDT

November 7: v Afghanistan, Mumbai (D/N), 7.30pm AEDT

November 11: v Bangladesh, Pune, 4pm AEDT

November 15: First semi-final, Mumbai (D/N), 7.30pm AEDT

November 16: Second semi-final, Kolkata (D/N), 7.30pm AEDT

November 19: Final, Ahmedabad (D/N), 7.30pm AEDT

Australia squad: Pat Cummins (c), Sean Abbott, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa

2023 World Cup standings

Matches played
No results
Net Run Rate
Total points
1 India Men India Men IND 9 9 0 0 0 2.57 0 18
2 South Africa Men South Africa Men SA 9 7 2 0 0 1.261 0 14
3 Australia Men Australia Men AUS 9 7 2 0 0 0.841 0 14
4 New Zealand Men New Zealand Men NZ 9 5 4 0 0 0.743 0 10
5 Pakistan Men Pakistan Men PAK 9 4 5 0 0 -0.199 0 8
6 Afghanistan Men Afghanistan Men AFG 9 4 5 0 0 -0.336 0 8
7 England Men England Men ENG 9 3 6 0 0 -0.572 0 6
8 Bangladesh Men Bangladesh Men BAN 9 2 7 0 0 -1.087 0 4
9 Sri Lanka Men Sri Lanka Men SL 9 2 7 0 0 -1.419 0 4
10 Netherlands Men Netherlands Men NED 9 2 7 0 0 -1.825 0 4

M: Matches played

W: Wins

L: Losses

T: Ties

N/R: No results

NRR: Net Run Rate

Ded.: Deductions

PTS: Total points