Proteas look to record first win
Advancing into the Super 10 stage for the first time in three attempts, minnows Afghanistan will face a formidable challenge when they clash with South Africa in the ICC World Twenty 20 Championship at the Wankhede Stadium here on Sunday.
Afghanistan suffered a narrow defeat against defending champions Sri Lanka in their opening Group game at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens and they will have to get across South Africa to keep themselves afloat.
The Proteas, on the other hand, suffered a stunning two-wicket loss against England last night despite scoring a record-high score of 229 for 4 and Faf du Plessis’ men would come hard at the Afghans, eager to notch up their first win in the tournament to stay in contention for the last four berth.
The Afghans need to stand up to this assault, with both bat and ball from South Africa whose bowlers - barring Imran Tahir - were taken to the cleaners by the Joe Root-inspired England.
Can a bunch of amateur cricketers defeat a top outfit like South Africa, who will be coming at them at full tilt, and remain in contention for a semi-final spot, is the big question. Jean-Paul Duminy, who played an important all-round part for South Africa by striking a brisk 28-ball 54 and then snapping 1 for 31, said that his team needs to put the defeat behind and focus on the match against Afghanistan.
“Extras (26) let us down, we bowled too many wides (20) and so forth; that’s something we have to look at. There were positives, especially from batting point of view, but there’s need for improvement from bowling point of view,” he said. “We have to move on to the next game. It’s a quick turnaround for us as the Afghanistan game is coming up on Sunday,” said Duminy.
Squads (from): South Africa: Faf du Plessis (capt), Kyle Abbott, Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien,
Quinton de Kock (wk), AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Imran Tahir, David Miller, Chris Morris, Aaron Phangiso, Kagiso Rabada, Rilee Rossouw, Dale Steyn, David Wiese.
Afghanistan: Asghar Stanikzai (capt), Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Noor Ali Zadran, Usman Ghani, Mohammad Nabi, Karim Sadiq, Shafiqullah Shafiq, Rashid Khan, Ameer Hamza, Dawlat Zadran, Shapoor Zadran, Gulbadin Naib, Samiullah Shenwari, Najibullah Zadran, Hamid Hassan.