Published: Mon, June 17, 2019
Sport | By

South Africa v Afghanistan

South Africa v Afghanistan

South Africa are unsure whether to take a gamble on injured fast bowler Lungi Ngidi when they take on Afghanistan in Cardiff on Saturday as they look for their first World Cup win after a disgusting start to the tournament, captain Faf du Plessis said on Friday.

The Proteas have endured a torrid start to their campaign in England and Wales, losing their first three matches, before a no-result against the West Indies, with the match being called off owing to rain.

South Africa head into this contest just a single solitary point above Afghanistan and second from bottom in the standings. South Africa had five matches to go, he surmised, and each had to be treated like a cup final.

Because of two rain disruptions, the match was reduced to 48 overs per team with South Africa chasing a new target of 127. We did not play a 50-over game because we did not last. We've seen throughout this World Cup that if you keep wickets in hand, you can really post some big totals.

Faf du Plessis is saying goodbye to the ghosts ahead of a day-night clash with Afghanistan.

Amla was unbeaten on 41 off 83 balls as South Africa got home in the 29th over.

"Hopefully this is a real confidence booster for everyone on the team", he said.

"Imran, as always, is special, but I think especially on a wicket like that today where it's not suited for spinners, straight boundaries, to get four wickets like that today was an wonderful bowling performance".

Knowing that their plans paid off, South Africa now have a morale-boosting victory to their name, much needed after a hard start to the tournament that saw three defeats followed by a rained out match.

But this was a make-or-break encounter for both teams, and it was Afghanistan who blinked - and broke - first, collapsing in a heap after they were unnerved by repeated rain breaks in the afternoon.

Andile Phehluklwayo (2/18 from 8 overs) had Hashmatullah Shahidi caught at slip in the first over after the restart and then Imran Tahir (4/29 from 7 overs) bagged two - first beating Zadran through the gate with a googly, then taking a simple return catch off Asghar Afghan's leading edge - to reduce the score to 70/5.

It needed a cavalier approach from Rashid Khan, with three fours in four balls during his 35, to ensure Afghanistan reached three figures. "Morris (Chris) and Tahir were fantastic in the middle overs as they got wickets". We had a good opportunity to play against them but we missed it.

Courtesy of a spectacular goalkeeper grab at midwicket by Aiden Markram and a boundary catch by Rassie van Der Dussen, the 40-year-old finished with a four-wicket haul and the man-of-the-match award at a ground which, due to the diminutive straight boundaries, tends to be a spinner's bane. And that's why I say, in a ideal world, yes, we could have pushed a little harder at the end.

Like this: