ICC World Cup Match 21
South Africa vs Afghanistan played at Cardiff on 15 June 2019
South Africa 131/1 (Q de Kock 68, Hashim Amla 41* ) beat Afghanistan 126 All Out (Rashid Khan, Noor Ali Zadran 32, Hafizullah Zazai 22, Imran Tahir 4/27, CH Morris 3/13, AL Phehlulkwayo 2/18) by 9 wickets
Player of the Match: Imran Tahir
DHAKA: Finally South Africa managed winning in World Cup 2019. Confronting a strong bowling unit in the rain interrupted match Afghanistan was bundled out for only 126 runs. South Africa cruised to its first win by 9 wickets scoring 131/1.
It has been a miserable performance by strong South Africa. After five straight losses and one point through rain grace South Africa came to their own in their 5th match against bottom of the table Afghanistan. Winning by 9 wickets South Africa showed signs of late surge in the tournament. With 4 more matches yet to be played it may not be too late for the Proteas doing justice to their reputation. But they have to win all and win big.
Strong South Africa was among the strong contenders for qualifying into top four. Though in recent time, following retirement of key players Jack Kallis and AB de Villiers, they never looked to have the all round potential for winning a global tournament. Team selection for some Cricket South Africa restrictions also created an issue. DayleSteyn got injured before South Africa could even start their World Cup mission. Ngidi got injured after few matches. Key batsman Hashim Amla looked out of form. With all these handicaps South Africa lost three matches in the trot and achieved only 1 point from a rain ruined match.
Yesterday at Cardiff also rain interrupted but when play resumed powerful South African attack rolled over Afghanistan for a paltry 126 all out. Protean openers Quninton de Kock (68) and HashimAmla (41*) led South Africa cruising to huge 9 wickets victory. Miserable Afghanistan lost all four matches and looks like have no possibility of making any surprise at least in this tournament. Afghan cricket has yet to go a long way for proving competitive at world level in ODI.
Lot of water has flown about great South African batsman Mr 360 degree AB de Villers expressing last minutes desire for reappearing in protean color in the World Cup. But every cricket board has some principles. Any player whichever he might be can not qualify to play unless he obliges to minimum requirement. A player remaining fit and performing in T20 franchise world wide should play in domestic cricket and continue playing international cricket to prove his consistency. But ABD announced his retirement too early according to observation of many.
His presence could be a big difference as South African top order and middle order struggled in matches against England, Bangladesh and India. Anyway there is little use in looking back in retrospect. It may sound too little to late. But there are some thoughts of South Africa making late surge. They have four more matches, some against tougher oppositions. They have to win all if they have to play in the knock out round.
Yesterday in Cardiff South African bowlers were relentless against Afghanistan and fielding was clinical. Only Afghan openers Noor Ali Zadran (32) and Hafizullah Zazai (22) resisted a bit and in the late middle order Rashid Khan (35) contributed. 8 other Afghan batsmen failed even reaching double figures. Together they contributed only 29 runs as Afghans got bundled out for 126 runs.
Responding to such a small target South African openers Hashim Amla (41*) and Quinton de Cock (68) made it cake walk. South Africa scoring 131 /1 in 28.4 overs, won its first match in World Cup 2019 by 9 wickets. Leg spinner Imran Tahir was adjudicated Player of the match.
Afghanistan came to this world cup with lot of promise. Three world class spinners Rashid Khan, Mujibur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi and few power hitting batsmen were supposed to win few matches for them. In warm up match they surprised Pakistan. But in the tournament they have great mismatch so far in four matches. Perhaps team chemistry is not great. Afghan board changed their successful captain just before the tournament. Players were not happy. Power striker Shahzad left the squad in confused state. These does not auger well for Afghanistan cricket. Something is definitely not right with Afghanistan cricket.
BDST: 1052 HRS, JUN 15, 2019