Cardiff, June 16 (IANS) South Africa beat Afghanistan by nine wickets here to claim their first victory of the 2019 ICC World Cup on Saturday.
Put into bat, Afghanistan crumbled to 125 all out with spinner Imran Tahir picking four wickets. The Proteas chased down their revised target of 127 (D/L method) in 28.4 overs with openers Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock putting up an opening stand of 104 runs.
Afghanistan turned in yet another dismal performance with the bat and were no match to the South African pacers and Imran Tahir. Their innings had a prolonged interruption due to rain which led to the match being reduced to a 48 overs a side contest. This meant that while Afghanistan were dismissed for 125, South Africa had to chase down a D/L adjusted target of 147 to win the match.
Hazratullah Zazai and Noor Ali Zadran’s opening stand of 39 turned out to be Afghanistan’s best partnership of the match. Kagiso Rabada provided South Africa the breakthrough after which Chris Morris, Andile Phehlukwayo and Imran Tahir chipped away. By the time captain Gulbadin Naib was dismissed in the 26th over, Afghanistan were tottering at 77/7.
Rashid Khan then played a counter attacking cameo of 25 balls in which he scored scored 35 runs. His innings was punctuated by six fours. His dismissal was the penultimate wicket and Afghanistan were all out in the next two balls.
South Africa were cruising towards what looked like a 10-wicket victory when Naib dismissed de Kock for 68 (72 balls) in the 23rd over. Phehlukwayo, who was sent in at number three, and Amla then saw off the rest of the chase and South Africa secured their first win of the tournament.
Afghanistan: 125 all out (Rashid Khan 35, Noor Ali Zadran 32; Imran Tahir 4/29) vs South Africa 131/1 (Quinton de Kock 68, Hashim Amla 41; Gulbadin Naib 1/29)