'Won't take Afghanistan lightly' – Amla

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‘Minnows in the running in T20’ – Amla

South Africa will not dare to take Afghanistan lightly as they bid to bounce back from their chastening opening-round defeat to England at the Wankhede Stadium, according to Hashim Amla.

Despite a riotous start to South Africa’s innings, Amla’s 58 from 31 balls and a 91-run stand for the first wicket with Quinton de Kock proved insufficient to set up a victory. England, inspired by Joe Root’s 83 from 44 balls, chased down a massive 230 to win by two wickets with two balls to spare and put the pressure on South Africa ahead of their second Group 1 game against the Associate qualifiers.

“I still think 230 is a very good total, no matter which venue,” Amla said. “Can you ever be satisfied with any score? I guess I could have hit that ball for six and that ball for four, but that’s not how it goes. We would definitely have taken 230 at the start of the game, we have to be grateful to get that on the board.”

Looking ahead to the challenge of Afghanistan, who South Africa have only met once before, Amla said: “You can’t take any team for granted. We saw how they played against Sri Lanka and the shorter the format the more the minnow teams are in the running. We have to play our best players to beat them.”

He admitted, however, that he wasn’t fully acquainted with the players he will be facing. “What we know is basically what we’ve seen in their game against Sri Lanka and the preliminary tournament. We leave that to our brains trust, but they are a good team and you don’t take them lightly.”

South Africa know that defeat in their first game means the pressure is on them but Amla said captain Faf du Plessis had told his players not to panic after conceding the second-highest successful chase in T20 internationals.

One area they can definitely make improvements in is the amount of extras conceded; South Africa gave up 20 runs in wides, compared to England’s two, which may have been the difference between winning and losing in a close finish that came down to the last few deliveries.

“Faf has spoken about trying to be as simple as we can with our plans,” Amla said. “The difference in the game last night was us conceding too many extras and we will have to leave it at that.

“We have a quality bowling attack, I believe they will be hurt, along with the team, for not executing as well as they would have liked. I’m sure in the games to follow we can bounce back.”

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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