Australia v South Africa, 2nd semi-final, St Lucia April 25, 2007

Magnificent McGrath turns it on again



Glenn McGrath destroyed South Africa with yet another match-winning bowling display in a crunch game © Getty Images

This could have been Glenn McGrath's last international match but typically, on a big stage and in a crunch game, he delivered more spectacular results. His three-wicket haul lifted his World Cup tally to a record 25 - past Chaminda Vaas' 2003-mark of 23 - and ensured that his final game will be a suitably big occasion.

This semi-final was effectively over the moment McGrath completed his fifth over. By then he had outstanding figures of 3 for 13, South Africa had slumped to 27 for 5, and though they recovered slightly, the result was never in any doubt. As usual, he bowled in perfect areas - 27 of his first 30 deliveries pitched on a good length, while 26 reached the batsmen on or around off stump. South Africa compounded their woes by the manner in which they tried to tackle him. They left alone 14 deliveries, took only four singles, and then attempted to break the shackles with extravagant strokes which led to their downfall.

How South Africa played McGrath in his first spell (5-1-13-3)
Stroke Balls Runs Dot balls Scoring strokes
Left alone 14 0 14 0
Defence 8 0 8 0
Off-side drive/cut 5 6 2 3
Flick/pull 3 6 0 3

McGrath finally finished with figures of 3 for 18 from eight, and his 15th Man-of-the-Match award. Six of those have come in World Cup matches, which is a pretty impressive record considering that only 16% of his ODIs have been in the World Cup. This performance also gives him an opportunity to bow out in style. Considering his track record in finals and in World Cups, expect him to turn it on again on Saturday.

More stats

  • This is the second time McGrath has taken 25 or more wickets in a one-day series. He got 27 in the Carlton & United Series in Australia in 1998-99. The only other bowler to take 25 wickets in a series is Dennis Lillee, who managed it in 1980-81.

  • Australia now have three bowlers who have taken more than 20 wickets in this tournament - Shaun Tait has 23 while Brad Hogg has 20. (Click here for the leading wicket-takers in this World Cup.)

  • Adam Gilchrist got four dismissals in the South African innings, which is the third time he has managed at least four in the World Cup. Gilchrist now has 49 dismissals in World Cups - a record - and 14 in this tournament, second only to Kumar Sangakkara's 15.

  • Shaun Tait's 4 for 39 are his best bowling figures in ODIs, and his maiden four-wicket haul. He became the fourth bowler - after Roger Harper, Shane Warne and Lasith Malinga - to take four in a World Cup game against South Africa.

  • It's the first time South Africa have been dismissed for less than 150 in a World Cup game. (Click here for their lowest ODI totals.) This was only the second time a team batting first was dismissed for less than 150 in a World Cup semi-final. The first instance was in the first event in 1975, when England were bundled out for 93 against Australia at Headingley.

  • Matthew Hayden has become only the second batsman - after Sachin Tendulkar - to get to the 600-run mark in a single World Cup. Hayden's tally is currently 621, and he needs 52 more to equal Tendulkar's 673.

  • Ricky Ponting became the third batsman to go past 500 runs in this tournament after Hayden and Mahela Jayawardene. The two captains in the final will be players who have led from the front. Before this tournament, Tendulkar had been the only batsman to score more than 500 in a single World Cup. He did it in 1996 and 2003.

  • Jacques Kallis' poor run in ODIs against Australia continued. In his last eight matches against them he has scored just 115 runs at an average of 14.37.

  • It was only the third instance of a team losing half their side for less than 35 in a World Cup semi-final. The first two instances were both in that Headingley game between England and Australia in 1975.