Warner's ton goes in vain against Du Plessis' Proteas
Already eliminated, South Africa were inspired by Du Plessis’ fluent 100 of 94 balls & Rassie van der Dussen’s career-best 95 to post a challenging 325 for 6 in last game
Manchester: David Warner's brilliant century went in vain as a Faf du Plessis-inspired South Africa beat defending champions Australia by 10 runs to pull the curtains on their disappointing World Cup campaign on a high here.
Australia needed to win to top the standings after India's clinical victory over Sri Lanka earlier on Saturday, but the defending champions fell short despite Warner registering his third ton of the tournament (122 off 117 balls) and wicket-keeper Alex Carey's 85 off 69.
Already eliminated, South Africa were inspired by Du Plessis' fluent 100 of 94 balls and Rassie van der Dussen's career-best 95 to post a challenging 325 for six in the last league game of the tournament.
The Proteas came out with purpose and defended the target with Kagiso Rabada (3/56), Dwaine Pretorious (2/27) and Andile Phehlukwayo sharing the honours with the ball, as Australia were bundled out for 315 in 49.5 overs.
Australia finished the league stage in the second spot with 14 points from nine game and will take on hosts England in the second semi-final at Birmingham on Thursday. India will play New Zealand in the first-semifinal here on Tuesday.
Besides Warner and Carey, no other Australian batsmen could make any notable contribution with the bat.
Australia were reduced to 119 for four in 24.1 overs before Warner and Carey stitched 108 runs off just 90 balls for the fifth wicket to keep the title holders in the hunt.
But once the duo departed, Australia's chase fell apart.
Earlier, openers Aiden Markram (34) and Quinton de Kock (52) came out with positive intent after South Africa opted to bat.
Du Plessis and Van der Dussen carried forward the good work on a batting friendly pitch with a 151-run stand for the third wicket and in the process, the South African skipper raised his 12th ODI century.
After taking some time, Du Plessis worked the ball around nicely in the middle overs while Van der Dussen shifted gears in the latter stage of the innings.
Van der Dussen raised the team's 300 with a six off Pat Cummins but he holed out to Glenn Maxwell at the deep midwicket boundary while trying to hit a six off the last ball of the innings.
Nevertheless, Van der Dussen helped his team's cause and hit four sixes and as many fours in his entertaining knock.
J P Duminy's last ODI innings for South Africa yielded 14 runs.
The Proteas openers timed the ball nicely and raised 79 runs in quick time, not sparing even Mitchell Starc, one of the best in the business. Markram stroked beautifully on the off-side while De Kock too was a delight to watch.
Markram, when on 32, offered a difficult chance to Jason Behrendorff but the pacer couldn't grab it. However, he did not last long and was stumped off Nathan Lyon.
The off-spinner soon sent back De Kock, who miscued one straight to Starc at backward point.
Realising that spinners are getting purchase from the wicket, Glenn Maxwell was employed and he did trouble the South African batsmen. He could have got the wicket of Van der Dussen but Carey missed a regulation stumping chance. He was on 4 at that time.
The run rate took a beating after those wickets but Van der Dussen and Du Plessis gradually shifted gears during their partnership.