Proteas v Australia: Five key battles that could define World Cup semi-final clash

Proteas v Australia: Five key battles that could define World Cup semi-final clash

SABC Sport looks at five key battles that could define the Cricket World Cup semi-final clash between Proteas and Australia at Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

Quinton de Kock v Mitchell Starc

De Kock has been in fine form at the global tournament having already hit four centuries in the seven group matches, but will be up against the ultimate World Cup fast bowler.

Starc sits fourth on the list of all-time leading wicket-takers in the competitions history and usually sets the tone with the ball for the five-time winners.

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Keshav Mahraj v Glenn Maxwell

The Proteas left-arm spinner is now ranked as the number one bowler in ODI cricket and will no doubt play a key role to nullify Australia's power-hitters in the middle overs.

Power-hitters do not come harder than Maxwell, who showed what he is capable of when he single-handedly took his country to victory over Afghanistan with a barnstorming double-century in the group stages.

Heinrich Klaasen v Adam Zampa

Klaasen is the Proteas' best batter against spin while Zampa is one of the best slow-bowlers in world cricket, showcasing his prowess in India by being the leading wicket-taker so far at the World Cup with 22 scalps.

The South African got the better of their duel in a series at home before the global event but that will count for nothing in the heat of the battle at Eden Gardens.

Kagiso Rabada v Mitchell Marsh

The leader of the Proteas bowling attack, the semi-final showdown could be Rabada's moment of truth as he looks to drive his team to a first ever World Cup final.

Marsh, like so many other Australians, always seems to step up on the big occasion and has hit form at just the right time in the tournament as evidenced by his hundred against Bangladesh in their previous game.

Marco Jansen v David Warner

Just as the De Kock-Starc duel could be important in deciding the contest, so will the battle of the 'lefties' when young gun Jansen looks to knock over Aussie veteran Warner.

The 23-year-old South African has been a shining light at the tournament but copped some punishment in his last outing against India and the 37-year-old Warner will look to go hard early to put Jansen under pressure.

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