South Africa 209 for 5 (De Villiers 64, De Kock 45, Hamza 1-25) beat Afghanistan 172 (Shahzad 44, Morris 4-27) by 37 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
AB de Villiers looted 29 runs off an over from Rashid Khan © Associated Press
An unconvincing South Africa survived a spirited Afghanistan chase to defend a 200-plus score and get their World Twenty20 campaign back on track. In the absence of Dale Steyn, who was left out for tactical reasons, Chris Morris and Imran Tahir squeezed through the middle period to ensure AB de Villiers‘ quickfire 64 was not in vain.
Afghanistan’s second loss means their chances of progressing to the knockouts are all but over, but they have showed their promise. They kept up with the required run-rate for the first half of their innings and were ahead of where South Africa were at the same stage in their knock, but lost too many wickets to keep going. Afghanistan also did not have a 17th over like South Africa did; de Villiers took 29 runs off Rashid Khan, which ended up being the major difference between the two sides.
In the end, South Africa will be relieved that they were able to defend their total, but disappointed that the margin of victory was not bigger. They tightened up on their discipline in the field but still gave away more extras than their opposition – six wides compared to two from Afghanistan – and did not show the kind of killer instinct that they will need later in the tournament.
They also suffered an injury concern. JP Duminy left the field four balls into Afghanistan’s chase with a hamstring strain and was unable to take any further part in the match. Duminy has only just found form again and his availability will be important for the rest of the World T20.
More to follow….
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo