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ICC World Cup 2019: Match 21, South Africa vs Afghanistan, Review – Commanding Proteas win their first game of the tournament

16 Jun 2019 CricTracker

Imran Tahir. (Photo Source: Twitter)

You could almost listen to a collective sigh of relief from all across the globe as South Africa finally managed to win their first game of the tournament. As always, they began the tournament as one of the firm favourites but unlike previous editions, they lost their first three games and saw one getting gifted to the rain gods. In a game where stakes were put very high, the Proteas finally managed to step up.

After winning the toss earlier, South Africa put Afghanistan into bat first. Openers Noor Ali Zadran and Hazratullah Zazai gave them a great start and once again, the latter bottled a great chance to put up a big score. Rabada picked up his wicket with the scorecard reading 39/1 and then began another flurry of wickets, which has been Afghanistan’s story this tournament.

Chris Morris and Andile Phehlukwayo sent Rahmat Shah and Hashmatullah Shahidi back, which paved way brilliantly for the Imran Tahir show to follow. The 40-year-old leg-spinner picked up the wicket of Noor Ali Zadran to get going and followed it up another wicket of Asghar Afghan.

There was literally no fight back from the Asian side, who kept losing some important players in quick succession. In this difficult period, Rashid Khan stood tall and played a little cameo. His brilliance ensured they got themselves into a respectable position before getting bowled out. He also went full monty against Tahir, smashing three boundaries off the first four balls before getting dismissed off the fifth.

Afghanistan got bowled out for 125 runs in an innings which got interrupted twice because of rain. Imran Tahir picked up four wickets for the Saffers whilst Morris returned with impressive figures of 3/13.

Openers get the job done without much fuss

With the rain gods interrupting, the target was revised to 127 runs in 48 overs. Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla were long overdue a big knock. Both these exceptional white ball cricketers were struggling to get going in the earlier games and also were not very fortunate. This time around, fortunes favoured them to put up big scores and they took their chances brilliantly.

Hashim Amla took all the time in the world to get going but since there was ample time for the side to get over the line, so it didn’t bother the team. Quinton de Kock kept going after the bad deliveries and batted very sensibly on his way to a half-century. Just after the duo completed the 100-run stand, Gulbadin Naib dismissed de Kock for a well-compiled 68 off 72 deliveries.

Just the way England sent in Chris Woakes at number three the other day, South Africa sent Andile Phehlukwayo to bat at number three. The left-handed batsman came in and smashed a few boundaries off Rashid. He finished the game with a six off Mohammad Nabi to help South Africa complete the run chase with nearly 20 overs to spare.

Brief Scores

Afghanistan: 125 all out in 34.1 overs (Rashid Khan 35; Imran Tahir 4/29, Chris Morris 3/13)

South Africa: 131/1 in 28.4 overs (Quinton de Kock 68, Hashim Amla 41*)

Result: South Africa won by 9 wickets

Man of the match: Imran Tahir

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