Head was on 9, facing his eighth delivery, when he was struck on the glove attempting a pull off Coetzee. He went on to face three more deliveries before deciding he was unable to continue batting. More information on the severity of his injury will be known on Saturday.
Australia’s chase of 417 suffered early dents when they were reduced to 22 for 2, but Head made a strong start. After he was struck, he received treatment on the field and opted to continue, and seemed more than able to when he whipped Marco Jansen over deep backward square for six. He toe-ended the next ball just short of Kagiso Rabada at mid-off, and the next ball he faced – it was back of a length – he made room to cut but Coetzee followed him and cramped him for room.
Head looked uncomfortable and told stand-in South Africa captain Aiden Markram and the umpires that he could not continue. Australia were 53 for 2 in the ninth over at the time.
The injury will doubtless increase speculation that Marnus Labuschagne, who was not part of Australia’s initial World Cup squad, could force his way into the final playing group. Labuschagne came on as a concussion substitute in the first ODI and scored an unbeaten 80 in a match-winning cause, and followed that up with 124 in the second game.