Bengaluru, July 6: One of the potentially explosive match of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 was scheduled for Saturday (July 6) at Old Trafford where Australia would take on South Africa.
But ironically, the game is just an academic one with Australia having made the semifinals whereas the Proteas are just waiting for their flight back home at the end of the match.
Faf du Plessis' men were far too unimpressive in this edition and lost matches in a heap at the beginning never to make it up.
With just two wins from eight matches, the Proteas have had their worst outing at the World Cup ever, this year, and would have to do a lot of soul-searching post this tournament.
For the fans, the final league game of the 2019 World Cup was expected to be a potential quarterfinal, but in this dead rubber now, India seem to have a bigger interest for Virat Kohli's team would want the defending champions to lose so that they can beat Sri Lanka in the other game of the day and become No.1 in the points table.
Both India and Australia will be more than happy to play New Zealand in the semifinal than a dangerous-looking England.
Coming back to the Australia-SA game, this is the first time ever in the history of the World Cup that the two teams are playing in an inconsequential game. The rivalry had started in 1992 when the Proteas had played in their first World Cup and straightaway thumped Allan Border's side, one of the favourites, by nine wickets.
The pinnacle of the rivalry though came in 1999 after SA failed to cross the quarterfinal hurdle in 1996. That year, the two titans clashed in two crucial games and on both occasions, Australia had the last laugh. While Steve Waugh made a century in the Super Six game and mocked Herschelle Gibbs en route after he dropped him, Allan Donald had a terrible 'brainfade' moment in the semifinal and the hesitation to take the winning run saw the Proteas out of the tournament.
The two sides didn't meet again before 2007 when they were clubbed in the same group. Ricky Ponting's men thumped Graeme Smith's team by 83 runs and then in a rather dull semifinal compared to the 1999 edition, the Proteas were all out for 149 to lose by seven wickets.
The 3-1-1 record in favour of Australia makes their rivalry against South Africa one of the best at the World Cup.
But in 2019, it has turned out to be an anti-climax that they are meeting in a dead game.
South Africa still will look to end it with a win (they were also among the teams that had played the inaugural game of the tournament) which will take them to seven points and a place ahead of Bangladesh, who are the seventh position now.