Australia's ODI Cricket World Cup hopes hang in the balance after a record loss to South Africa punctuated by a controversial dismissal for all-rounder Marcus Stoinis. The Aussies are winless from their opening two games after crashing to an embarrassing 134-run loss to the Proteas in Lucknow - the nation's heaviest defeat in World Cup history.
It also represents the first time Australia has lost four straight World Cup games and leaves Pat Cummins' side facing an uphill battle to qualify for the knockout stage. The Aussies also lost their last two games of the 2019 edition in England, thus surpassing their three-straight defeats in 1979.
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Australia put down a whopping six catches in a dreadful fielding display as Quinton de Kock capitalised with his second-straight century (109) to power South Africa to 7-311. Despite a solid 46 from top scorer Marnus Labushagne, the Aussies never really looked close to threatening South Africa's total but were were certainly not helped by a controversial dismissal of Stoinis that followed Steve Smith's bizarre LBW call.
Smith started brightly but was on the end of a contentious DRS reversal that saw him removed by Kagiso Rabada for 19. South Africa reviewed the not out call after Rabada (3-33) hit Smith on the pads, with the ball appearing to be tracking wide of leg-stump on first glance. Smith and on-field umpire Joel Wilson were both gobsmacked when DRS showed the ball clipping the stumps.
While Smith looked genuinely perplexed after trudging off back to the pavilion, Stoinis was left seething after being given out caught behind for five in contentious circumstances a short time later. Replays showed Stoinis' right glove was off the bat when he gloved it to Proteas wicketkeeper de Kock, meaning the wicket should not have stood.
Marcus Stoinis dismissal causes a stir
However, third umpire Richard Kettleborough judged that part of Stoinis' glove was still attached to the bat, despite images offering a different story. "He gloved it, it looked like his bottom hand was off the handle, the third umpire said his bottom hand was attached to the top hand," Nasser Hussain said on commentary.
F ormer Australian captain Aaron Finch added: "If you look at that split screen on the left, the bottom hand is a long way from that top hand. That's a strange decision."
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) October 12, 2023
Stoinis' glove wasn't in contact with the Bat. Isn't it supposed to be a not out?
— THE DepRRRession (@hemanthadhikari) October 12, 2023
Stoinis robbed for sure. That's not out. The glove is off the handle when it hits the ball and that's not out by rule.
Umpiring at international level should be better, when you especially have so much technology for help. 🤷 #WorldCup2023 pic.twitter.com/6O0VHgC6kR
— Anuj Nitin Prabhu (@APTalksCricket) October 12, 2023
— AAD!3 💟💜 (@1_3Aadz) October 12, 2023
— Out Of Context Football & Cricket (@nocontextballs) October 12, 2023
Australia coach Andrew McDonald refused to blame the decisions for his side's ugly defeat but admitted that it could have been a different story had Smith and Stoinis stayed at the crease. "There was some doubt around it (the Stoinis' dismissal) but I suppose you've got to accept the umpires' decision in these moments. I'm sure there will be some explanation coming from the ICC around the dismissal."
The Aussies swung the axe by dropping out-of-sorts wicketkeeper Alex Carey for Josh Inglis, who himself put down an early chance to remove Proteas opener Temba Bavuma (35) and was also removed cheaply for five with the bat. Stoinis was also brought back in to replace fellow all-rounder Cam Green but bowled just two overs and also put down a regulation catch.
Glenn Maxwell was the pick of the Australian bowlers, finishing with 2-34 from his 10 overs. The Aussies now turn to their must-win game against Sri Lanka on Monday already two wins off the top teams, with South Africa, New Zealand, India and Pakistan all having 100 per cent records.
Only the top four qualify for the knockout stage so Australia will likely have to win at least six of their remaining seven matches to retain a chance of reaching the semi-finals. "Probably not much needs to be said tonight. I think everyone's hurting," Aussie captain Pat Cummins said after the match.
"We've got a few days ... so we'll regroup, everyone's hurting so we'll try to make amends. There's a few things we need to tidy up."
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