And at last, South Africa won! Yes… Stepping into the ICC World Cup 2019 as one of the tough teams, every cricket fan expected Proteas will not leave any of its opponents so easily. But all the expectations turned upside down with the performance of SA in its starting matches. And no need to mention about the very special guest of this 'Cricket World Cup 2019', 'Rain'! It also restricted SA from claiming its victory.
And finally, the day has come… South Africa beat Afghanistan by nine wickets to claim their first victory of the 2019 ICC World Cup on Saturday.
SA won the toss and opt to bowl when the two captains (Quinton de Kock & Gulbadin Naib) gathered to spin the coin in front of the match referee. De Kock opted to bowl first in the World Cup 21st match between South Africa and Afghanistan at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff on Saturday.
Afghanistan turned in yet another dismal performance with the bat and was no match to the South African pacers and Imran Tahir. Their innings had a prolonged interruption due to rain which led to the match being reduced to a 48 overs a side contest.
This meant that while Afghanistan was dismissed for 125, South Africa had to chase down a D/L adjusted target of 147 to win the match.
Hazratullah Zazai and Noor Ali Zadran's opening stand of 39 turned out to be Afghanistan's best partnership of the match.
Kagiso Rabada provided South Africa with the breakthrough after which Chris Morris, Andile Phehlukwayo and Imran Tahir chipped away.
By the time captain, Gulbadin Naib was dismissed in the 26th over, Afghanistan was tottering at 77/7.
Rashid Khan then played a counter-attacking cameo of 25 balls in which he scored 35 runs. His innings was punctuated by six fours. His dismissal was the penultimate wicket and Afghanistan were all out in the next two balls.
Put into bat, Afghanistan crumbled to 125 all out with spinner Imran Tahir picking four wickets.
South Africa Innings
South Africa was cruising towards what looked like a 10-wicket victory when Naib dismissed de Kock for 68 (72 balls) in the 23rd over.
Phehlukwayo, who was sent in at number three and Amla then saw off the rest of the chase and South Africa secured their first win of the tournament.
The Proteas chased down their revised target of 127 (D/L method) in 28.4 overs with openers Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock putting up an opening stand of 104 runs.
Man Of The Match: Imran Tahir
Afghanistan: 125 all out (Rashid Khan 35, Noor Ali Zadran 32; Imran Tahir 4/29).
South Africa 131/1 (Quinton de Kock 68, Hashim Amla 41; Gulbadin Naib 1/29).
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