WC 2019: South Africa crush Afghanistan to register first win of tournament

Last Updated: Sunday, 16 June 2019 (11:07 IST)
Cardiff: South Africa skittled Afghanistan for 125 to set up a crushing nine-wicket win in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 at Sophia Garden here on Saturday.
 
Chasing a mere target of 127, the opening duo of Hashim Amla and got South Africa to a great start.
 
Amla and  De Kock began slowly, knowing they had time to get themselves in. Only one boundary came in the first six overs, in which they scored just 15 runs, but once de Kock drove Aftab Alam through extra cover, the trickle turned into a flow.
 
De Kock brought up his half-century off 58 balls but was caught at mid-wicket for 68. Amla ended unbeaten on 41 and Phehlukwayo on 17 as South Africa reached their target with nine wickets and 116 balls to spare, giving their net run rate a healthy boost, and perhaps, getting their Cricket World Cup campaign on track.
 
Earlier, Imran Tahir and Andile Phehlukwayo have wrecked havoc after the match resumed following the second rain break Afghanistan collapsed from 2 for 69 to 125 all-out in 34.1 overs.
 
Imran Tahir was the pick of the bowlers for South Africa as he ended with four wickets. Chris Morris scalped three while Andile Phehlukwayo picked two for the Proteas.
 
Rashid Khan was Afghanistan’s top scorer with 35 runs.
 
The rain breaks dented Afghanistan but the batsmen were equally to be blamed for their poor showing. After being put in, the openers - Hazratullah Zazai and Noor Ali Zadran - gave the side a very promising start. In the first 5.5 overs, Afghanistan had 33 on the board and had picked boundaries at will.
 
Both Kagiso Rabada and Beuran Hendricks were put under pressure as the authoritative strokeplay came with regular frequencies.
 
The first rain break was a short one but was enough to rob the openers their momentum. Rabada set the trap, asking Zazai to hit to his preferred on side, and then bounced him out for 22. Afghanistan had been forced to restart and it showed.
 
The two Afghanistan batsmen, however, could have done things differently.  While Zadran stepped away from this aggressive approach, Rahmat Shah found his inning stuck in the taxi way instead of taking off.
 
Afghanistan played 35 dot ball in the 40 bowled after the break. Shah was trapped in front by Chris Morris as Afghanistan’s rate dropped further. They were 69 for 2 in 20 overs when the second - and the lengthier break - forced the players off.
 
The frustrating drizzle last almost an hour and once play resumed South Africa buried their opponents in a real jiffy.
 
Afghanistan lost four wickets in seven balls as their middle-order was wiped out by Imran Tahir and Andile Phehlukwayo.
 
Hashmatullah Shahidi’s adventurous drive landed with Faf du Plessis while Zadran and Asghar Afghan were undone by the googlies from Tahir. At 70 for 5, Afghanistan were desperately banking on Mohammad Nabi’s experience. Instead, the all-rounder chopped one back on from Phehlukwayo to fall for 1. More recklessness followed and when fell, Tahir’s figures read 3 for 3.
 
Rashid had some fun - stringing in some streaky boundaries - as the innings fell apart. The 34th over from Tahir summed up the Afghanistan innings superbly. Rashid, on top of the bowler having his three boundaries, gets greedy seeing a long hop and pulls it straight to midwicket.