Men's ODI WC: South Africa end Afghanistan's stunning run with five-wicket win
Ahmedabad, Nov 10 : Rassie van der Dussen's unbeaten 76 and a 47-ball 41 by opener Quinton de Kock helped South Africa overcome Afghanistan, powered by a fine 97 not out by Azmatullah Omarzai, by five wickets in the ICC Men's ODI World Cup here on Friday.
With this defeat, Afghanistan bowed out of the World Cup with some stunning wins against England, Pakistan and Sri Lanka that will remain etched in the history of their cricket for many years.
The second innings of the match was fiercely contested between the Afghanistan bowlers and the South Africa batters, with the latter coming out on top at the very end.
Rassie van der Dussen starred for South Africa with splendid innings, whereas old-hands Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi were the stars for Afghanistan.
In the first innings, Omarzai's fighting 97 not out helped Afghanistan finish strongly and post 244 all out in 50 overs after South Africa had dominated for the majority of the innings. Gerald Coetzee (4-44) and Keshav Maharaj (2-25) shined for the Proteas.
Chasing 245, South Africa eventually reached 247/5 in 47.3 overs to win the match by five wickets.
The South African openers were among the runs from the very beginning. Quinton de Kock was particularly aggressive, hitting two fours and three sixes in the first Powerplay. Temba Bavuma experienced some issues with his hamstring but managed to stick around at the crease.
Afghanistan struck back early in the second Powerplay. Bavuma fell while trying to clear Mujeeb Ur Rahman past deep mid-wicket. Then in the 14th over, Mohammad Nabi trapped Quinton de Kock lbw. While the on-field umpire didn't agree with that call, Afghanistan succeeded in getting a wicket after a review.
Van der Dussen and Aiden Markram then took South Africa ahead with a steady stand. The duo hit several confident shots, even as the Proteas improved their scoring rate. However, Rashid's special spell got two important breakthroughs for his team.
He got rid of Markram (25) in the 24th over. The batter ended up pulling a catch towards the covers. A few overs later, the dangerous Heinrich Klaasen was cleaned up.
The set van der Dussen got decent support from David Miller, as the duo batted out the next few anxious deliveries, and then got back into the groove once more. Their stand helped blunt the impact of Afghanistan tweakers, even as the Proteas gradually moved towards their target.
However, Afghanistan got a timely breakthrough in the 38th over when Miller (24) pushed one back to Nabi. The Afghanistan spinners were able to stifle the scoring rate, and the South Africa chase depended predominantly on van der Dussen's stay at the crease.
The batter managed to stave off the spin challenge, and along with Phehlukwayo (39*) helped South Africa to a five-wicket win.
Earlier, Afghanistan openers backed the call of their skipper with yet another steady start. While there were a few close calls, including a tough chance that Keshav Maharaj spilt in the covers, Afghanistan ensured that the scoring rate was healthy.
But it was Maharaj who eventually brought the Proteas their first breakthrough. Off his very first ball, he induced a thin edge off Rahmanullah Gurbaz (25) which was snapped by Heinrich Klaasen at the first slip.
Off the very next over, Gerald Coetzee snared the previous match's centurion, Ibrahim Zadran, for 15. He got Ibrahim to nick one behind the wicket as Afghanistan fell to 41/2.
Wickets continued to tumble as Maharaj removed Hashmatullah Shahidi and Afghanistan eventually fell to 116/6.
Azmatullah Omarzai then took charge and helped Afghanistan move ahead. He reached a patient half-century in the 37th over. From 116/6, he added 44 runs for the seventh wicket with Rashid Khan (14). And after Rashid fell, he continued fighting with the positive Noor Ahmad (26).
With the Afghanistan tail, Azmatullah added 71 runs in the final powerplay, even as the South African bowlers erred in their lines and lengths.
In the end, Omarzai's heroics went in vain as Afghanistan succumbed to a five-wicket defeat.
Afghanistan 244 all out in 50 overs (Azmatullah Omarzai 97 not out; Gerald Coetzee 4-44, Keshav Maharaj 2-25, Lungi Ngidi 2-69) lost to South Africa 247/5 in 47.3 overs (Rassie van der Dussen 76 not out, Quinton de Kock 41; Mohammad Nabi 2-35, Rashid Khan 2-47) by five wickets.