South Africa vs Afghanistan, In a thrilling encounter that set the stage for the upcoming semi-final against Australia, South Africa successfully navigated a tricky chase against Afghanistan in their final league-stage game of the 2023 ODI World Cup. The five-wicket triumph was sealed by the dynamic partnership of Rassie van der Dussen and Andile Phehlukwayo, ensuring South Africa’s confidence remains unshaken as they progress to the semi-finals.
Bowlers Shine as Afghanistan Sets Target: South Africa vs Afghanistan
Afghanistan, opting to bat first, faced a formidable South African bowling attack that restricted them to 244. Gerald Coetzee’s impactful 4-44 and Keshav Maharaj’s economical 2-25 dismantled the Afghan batting order. Despite the heroics of Azmatullah Omarzai, who anchored the innings with an unbeaten 97, Afghanistan faced a daunting task defending their total against the Proteas.
Afghanistan’s Valiant Effort:
Afghanistan’s bowling unit fought gallantly, led by Rashid Khan’s penetrative spell of 2-37. They managed to create pressure by picking crucial wickets, with Mujeeb Ur Rahman dismissing Temba Bavuma and Mohammad Nabi accounting for Quinton de Kock. The contest seemed poised in Afghanistan’s favor when Andile Phehlukwayo joined Rassie van der Dussen with South Africa needing 63 runs, but the Proteas duo showcased resilience.
Van der Dussen’s Clinical Innings:
Rassie van der Dussen was named Player of the Match. Played a pivotal role in steering South Africa through the challenging chase. His unbeaten 76, was the fourth fifty-plus score in the World Cup. Showcased clinical shot selection and strategic rotation of the strike. Van der Dussen’s stability at the crease ensured that South Africa remained in control. Even as wickets fell at regular intervals.
Afghanistan’s Best World Cup Performance:
Although Afghanistan concluded their World Cup journey with a defeat, their performance throughout the tournament was commendable. Winning four out of nine games and narrowly missing a fifth victory, Afghanistan displayed resilience and determination. They secured at least a sixth-place finish and confirmed their spot in the 2025 Champions Trophy.
As South Africa looks forward to a semi-final rematch against Australia, their convincing victory against Afghanistan underscores their championship credentials. The Proteas remain focused on the ultimate prize, eyeing a spot in the final on November 19 in Ahmedabad.