South Africa show pace and poise to destroy Afghanistan and enter World Cup final

South Africa vs Afghanistan, ICC T20 WC 2024 Semi-final
South Africa vs Afghanistan, ICC T20 WC 2024 Semi-final (PC: ACB & Proteas Men/X)

South Africa’s pace trio ripped through the heart of the Afghanistan batting unit, and in turn powered the side to their first-ever senior ICC World Cup final. Afghanistan could muster a mere 56 in tricky conditions for batting, with South Africa chasing down the target in 8.4 overs.

Marco Jansen started the slide by dismissing the in-form Rahmanullah Gurbaz, with a mixture of short and fuller-length deliveries. The tall Jansen then accentuated the variable bounce on display by cleaning up Gulbadin Naib. Kagiso Rabada, the pace spearhead, put Afghanistan under even more pressure by picking up two wickets in a single over. Afghanistan’s score then read 20 for 4.

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Jonathan Trott and Rashid Khan
Jonathan Trott and Rashid Khan (PC: ACB/X)

At 29 for 6, after the sixth over, it was all but over for Afghanistan. The duo of Jansen and Anrich Nortje sharing the three wickets to fall in that period of two overs. Azmatullah Omarzai, the all-rounder, tried to break the shackles by charging down the deck but could only spoon a catch to Tristan Stubbs at covers. Incidentally, the all-rounder was the only Afghanistan batter who touched the 10-run mark for his side.

Karim Janat and Rashid Khan cracked a few boundaries but they had too much to do on a track offering enough variable bounce and movement via indentations. South Africa’s three-pronged, tall pace attack took full advantage of the conditions that suited them as Afghanistan were bundled out in the 13th over.

In those difficult conditions, South Africa did lose an early wicket, with Fazalhaq Farooqi cleaning up de Kock. Naveen could have followed it up by removing Aiden Markram. Unfortunately for Afghanistan, they didn’t review the caught behind decision. Replays showed there was a faint nick. Reeeza Hendricks and Markram then crunched a volley of boundaries to more or less seal the deal. Reeza Hendricks provided the finishing touches with a six.

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