In the 21st match of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 on Saturday at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff, perennial bridesmaids South Africa beat minnows Afghanistan by eight wickets to register their first win. Here's how they strolled to an easy victory in the 48-overs-a-side match.
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12:26 AM IST: Mohammad Nabi on with his seventh over. A dot to Hashim Amla, then a single to mid-wicket. Andile Phehlukwayo blocks the next ball, and a six to win it. South Africa get their first win of the tournament. A convincing nine-wicket win.
12:25 AM IST: Aftab Alam returns for his fifth over. A dot to Hashim Amla. He guides the second ball, a slow bouncer, to third man for a single. Another bouncer, this time well-directed and Andile Phehlukwayo lets it pass him. Another bouncer, but it's called a wide. Too short. A yorker; then a wide, down the leg. A delayed decision and Alam is not happy. Three runs from the over. SA-124/1 after 28 overs. They need three runs.
12:19 AM IST: Mohammad Nabi continues. Two dots to Hashim Amla, then a single. Andile Phehlukwayo lofts the fourth ball mid-on for a single. Another single to long-on. Three runs from the over. SA-121/1 after 27 overs. They need six runs.
12:16 AM IST: Rashid Khan on with his seventh over. Andile Phehlukwayo clobbers the first ball for a four, to deep mid-wicket. A single, then a dot. Another single, the Phehlukwayo ends the over with a four. A brilliant cover drive. 10 runs from the over. And that's some action. SA-118/1 after 26 overs. They need nine more runs.
12:13 AM IST: Mohammad Nabi into the attack. Two singles, off the first and third balls. SA-108/1 after 25 overs. Proteas are not in a hurry, that's for sure. No action, whatsoever. 17 runs in the last five overs.
12:10 AM IST: Rashid Khan returns. Three dot balls to Hashim Amla. A single then a wide. Andile Phehlukwayo attempts a reverse sweep, for no run. Two runs from the over. SA-106/1 after 24 overs. They need 21 more runs.
12:06 AM IST: Gulbadin Naib continues. Two dots and a single to stitch 100-run stand for the opening stand. Quinton de Kock hits the next ball for a four. But he departs next ball. Caught by Mohammad Nabi. Some catch at mid-wicket in the fading light. FoW-104/1 (22.5 overs). de Kock made 68 off 72 balls, with the help of eight fours. Andile Phehlukwayo, left-handed batsman, is the new man. Five runs from the over.
12:01 AM IST: Mohammad Nabi on with his fourth over. Four runs from the over. SA-99/0 after 22 overs. They need 28 runs.
11:57 PM IST: Skipper Gulbadin Naib on with his fifth over. Four runs from it -- two singles and a double. SA-95/0 after 21 overs. They need another 32 runs.
11:52 PM IST: Mohammad Nabi continues. Hashim Amla hits the fourth ball for a four, over backward square leg. Five runs from the over. SA-91/0 after 20 overs. Drinks.
11:49 PM IST: Gulbadin Naib on with his fourth over. Quinton de Kock hits the third ball for a four, to deep mid-wicket. Lucky one. Rahmat Shah makes a poor effort at the boundary. SA-86/0 after 19 overs.
11:45 PM IST: Mohammad Nabi on with his second over. Seven runs, including a four off the third ball, hit by Hashim Amla to third man. SA-80/0 after 18 overs. They need 47 more runs.
11:42 PM IST: Rashid Khan continues. Quinton de Kock hits the first ball for a four, over mid-wicket. A double, then a four off the last ball, to deep mid-wicket. And second fifty for him this World Cup. He takes 58 balls. 10 runs from the over. SA-73/0 after 17 overs.
11:39 PM IST: Bowling change. Mohammad Nabi, off-spinner, into the attack as Afghanistan continue to look for an answer. A single, off the fifth ball. SA-63/0 after 16 overs.
11:36 PM IST: Rashid Khan on with his fourth over. Doubles off the first two balls, then a single off the fifth. Five runs from the over. SA-62/0 after 15 overs. They need 65 runs.
11:33 PM IST: Gulbadin Naib continues. Four singles from the over. SA-57/0 after 14 overs. They need another 70 runs.
11:29 PM IST: Rashid Khan on with his third over. Eight runs from it, including a four off the last ball, hit by Quinton de Kock. SA-53/0 after 13 overs. They need 74 more runs.
11:26 PM IST: Gulbadin Naib continues. Five runs, including a double and three singles. SA-45/0 after 12 overs.
11:23 OM IST: Rashid Khan on with his second over. Five runs from it - three singles and a double. SA-40/0 after 11 overs.
11:19 PM IST: Afghan skipper Gulbadin Naib into the attack with his medium pace. Two dots to Quinton de Kock, then concedes a four, off the third ball thanks to a misfield from Asghar Afghan. Five runs from the run. SA-35/0 after 10 overs
11:15 PM IST: Bowling change. Rashid Khan, leg-spinner, into the attack. Quinton de Kock hits the first ball for a four. And a single off the last ball as Hashim Amla opts the take the slow route. SA-30/0 after nine overs.
11:11 PM IST: Hamid Hassan continues. Singles off the second and third balls, then Hashim Amla plays a beautiful straight drive off the fifth ball for a four. Six runs from the over. SA-25/0 after eight overs.
11:07 PM IST: Aftab Alam on with his fourth over. Five dot balls to Quinton de Kock, then the South African opener hits the last ball for a four, through cover. SA-19/0 after seven overs.
11:04 PM IST: Maiden over from Hamid Hassan. Hashim Alma is taking all the time in the world to get some runs. Never seen him so out of touch. He is on nine off 26. AFG-15/0 after six overs.
11:00 PM IST: Tidy over from Aftab Alam. Four runs from it, two singles and a double. He even gets to review an LBW decision, against Hashim Amla, off the fifth ball. SA-15/0 after five overs.
10:55 PM IST: Hamid Hassan continues. Three singles, off the third and the last two balls. SA-11/0 after four overs. They need 116 runs more to register their first win.
10:51 PM IST: Aftab Alam continues. A single off the first ball, then Hashim Alma gets an inside edge for a four. Five runs from the over. SA-8/0 after three overs.
10:48 PM IST: Hamid Hassan, right-arm fast bowler, shares the new ball with Aftab Alam. Two runs, singles off the fifth and sixth deliveries. SA-3/0 after two overs.
10:43 PM IST: Aftab Alam gets the new ball. Three dot balls to Hashim Amla and a leg bye off the fourth ball. SA-1/0. Quinto de Kock is Amla's opening partner.
10:20 PM IST: Afghanistan were in a comparatively good place before the second rain stoppage, at 69/2. But Imran Tahir produced a stunning first over to claim two wickets, and it started the collapse. Tahir got four, while Chris Morris and Andile Phehlukwayo got three and four wickets each. For Bangladesh, Rashid Khaan was the top-scorer with 35 off 25, thanks to six fours, including three in on Tahir over. Opener Noor Ali Zadran contributed with 32 off 58.
South Africa are set a revised target of 127 runs.
10:10 PM IST: Chris Morris gets the last wicket. He had Hamid Hassan caught by skipper Faf du Plessis. Afghanistan all out for 125.
10:05 PM IST: Imran Tahir on with his seventh over. Rashid Khan hits the first two balls for back-to-back fours. A couple, then a four. But Tahir wins the battle. He had Tahir caught at deep mid-wicket by van der Dussen. Aftab Alam, right-handed batsman, is the new man. FoW-125/9 (33.5 overs).
10:00 PM IST: Chris Morris breaks Afghanistan's flourishing stand. Ikram Ali Khil (9 off 33) caught at slip by Hashim Amla FoW-111/8(32.4). Hamid Hassan, right-handed batsman, is the new man. Maiden wicket. AFG-111/8 after 33 overs.
9:55 PM IST: Imran Tahir on with his sixth over. Four singles and a couple from it. Six runs from the over. AFG-111/7 after 32 overs. Rashid Khan is unbeaten on 21 off 20, and he is building a little stand with Ikram Khil (9 off 29).
9:51 PM IST: Kagiso Rabada on with his eighth over. Just a single, off the scond ball. AFG-105/7 after 31 overs.
9:48 PM IST: Another quick over from Imran Tahir. Just two singles, off the last two balls. AFG-104/7 after 30 overs.
9:45 PM IST: Rashid Khan is waging a lone battle, so to say. Kagiso Rabada on with his seventh over. A single off the second ball, then two wides. Two dots, then a four. Rashid hits it over mid-off. Seven runs from the over. AFG-102/7 after 29 overs.
9:39 PM IST: Imran Tahir continues. Seven runs from his fourth over, including four byes off the third ball. Lucky Rashid Khan. He completely misses it. AFG-95/7 after 28 overs.
9:36 PM IST: Kagiso Rabada returns for his sixth over. Rashid Khan hits the third and fourth balls for back-to-back fours. 10 runs from the over. AFG-88/7 after 27 overs.
9:33 PM IST: Imran Tahir on with his third over. A dot to Gulbadin Naib, and a stunning catch by Aiden Markram to send Afghan captain back (5 off 11). Rashid Khan is the new man. One run from the over. AFG-78/7 after 26 overs. Nine runs and four runs in the last five overs. Stunning.
9:28 PM IST: Andile Phehlukwayo continues, and two singles. AFG-77/6 after 25 overs.
9:25 PM IST: One quick over from Imran Tahir. Two singles from his second over. AFG-75/6 after 24 overs.
9:21 PM IST: Andile Phehlukwayo strikes again. Mohammad Nabi (1 off 2) gone, bowled. FoW-70/6 (22.1 overs) Gulbadin Naib is the new man, and the skipper gets off with a couple. Three runs from the over. AFG-73/6 after 23 overs.
9:16 PM IST: Imran Tahir gets his first over, and what a start. Wickets of first and fifth deliveries. First, the wicket of Noor Ali (32 off 58), bowled; then, former Afghan captain Asghar Afghan, caught and bowled for a five-ball duck. Ikram Ali Khil is the new man. AFG-70/5 after 22 overs.
9:10 PM IST: And soon, South Africa gets a wicket. Andile Phehlukwayo had Hashmatullah Shahidi (8 off 22) caught at slip by Faf du Plessis. Maiden wicket. AFG-69/3 after 21 overs. Asghar Afghan is the new man.
9:05 PM IST: It's now a 48-overs-a-side match.
8:03 PM IST: With 20 overs completed, there should at least a result if the rain continues.
The covers are on once again in Cardiff ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ #SAvAFG pic.twitter.com/iINZzDRQcT— Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) June 15, 2019
8:00 PM IST: Chris Morris on with his fifth over. Thirsd back-to-back one-run over for South Africa. AFG-69/2 after 20 overs. Morris' figures: 5-1-13-1. And another RAIN stoppage.
7:55 PM IST: Andile Phehlukwayo on with his fifth over. A dot to Noor Ali, and a huge shout for LBW. Umpire nods, but review. Faintest of nicks. And Noor survives. A single off the fifth ball. AFG-67/2 after 19 overs. Ali is unbeaten on 31 off 53.
7:50 PM IST: Chris Morris continues. And another one-run over. AFG-66/2 after 18 overs.
7:42 PM IST: Andile Phehlukwayo on with his fourth over. Two dots to Hashmatullah Shahidi. But the Afghan batsman plays two beautiful drives for a four and a double. AFG-65/2 after 17 overs. Drinks.
7:38 PM IST: Chris Morris continues. And he traps Rahmat Shah in front (6 off 22). FoW- 56/2 (15.1 overs). Hashmatullah Shahidi, left-handed batsman, is the new man. Three runs from the over. AFG-59/2 after 16 overs.
7:31 PM IST: Andile Phehlukwayo on with his third over. Singles off the first and fourt balls, then another egde, beating the first slip. Noor Ali survives. Two runs. Four from the over. AFG-56/1 after 15 overs.
7:29 PM IST: Chris Morris on with his second over. Noor Ali hits the third ball through cover for three runs. Two dots later, Rahmat Shah hook Morris' bouncer for a four. Seven runs from the over. AFG-52/1 after 14 overs.
7:24 PM IST: Another very quick over from Andile Phehlukwayo. A single, off the fifth ball. AFG-45/1 after 13 overs. Six runs and a wicket in the last five overs.
7:19 PM IST: Double bowling change. Chris Morris, right-arm fast medium pacer, on. Maiden over. Rahmat Shah is clueless. He gets a life too, off the last ball. Quinton de Kock fails to reach to the edge.
7:16 PM IST: Bowling change. Andile Phehlukwayo, right-arm medium pacer, on. A couple of chances for South Africa. First, a run-out attempt, off the fourth ball, against Rahmat Shah at the striker's end. And a tough catch off the fifth ball. Faf du Plessis' attempt at second slip fails to convince the umpires. One run from the over. AFG-44/1 after 11 overs.
7:09 PM IST: Beuran Hendricks continues. Four dot balls to Noor Ali. Then a four through cover point. Sublime drive. Ali then survives. Thick edge and the ball lands just in front of backward point fielder. AFG-43/1 after 10 overs.
7:04 PM IST: Kagiso Rabada continues with his fifth over. Gets the first wicket. Hazratullah Zazai (22 off 23) caught by van der Dussen at deep. Maiden wicket. Rahmat Shah is the new man. AFG-39/1 after nine overs.
6:59 PM IST: Beuran Hendricks on with his fourth over. Three dots to Hazratullah Zazai, then a four, through cover. One more single, and five runs from the over. AFG-39/0 after eight overs.
6:55 PM IST: Kagiso Rabada on with his fourth over. Just a single, off the first ball. AFG-34/0 after seven overs.
6:51 PM IST: Play resumes after a passing shower. AFG-33/0 after six overs.
6:32 PM IST: Here's why India leads the world in protecting cricket from rain. Good read.
6:26 PM IST: Beuran Hendricks on with his third over. Noor Ali hits the first ball for a four, through cover. Good response from Hendricks. Three dot balls. But he errs on line, on the body and Ali glides it down the leg for a four. And RAIN comes. AFG-33/0 (5.5 overs).
Both Hazratullah Zazai and Noor Ali Zadran are unbeaten on 16 runs respectively.
6:23 PM IST: Probing over from Kagiso Rababa. Noor Ali survived a close run-out attempt while going for the second, off the third ball. A direct hit would have done the job, but the deflection from the wicketkeeper ate up precious time. Then, Hazratullah Zazai survived a skier. Chris Morris followed the ball but failed to complete the catch and the ball raced to boundary. Tough chance. Eight runs from the over. AFG-25/0 after five overs.
6:17 PM IST: Beuran Hendricks continues. Noor Ali takes a single off the first ball, then two dots for Hazratullah Zazai. He hits the fourth ball for a four. A square drive with some risk. A single and a wide. Another single to end the eight-run over. AFG-17/0 after four overs.
6:12 PM IST: Kagiso Rabada continues. Five runs from the over, two couples and a single. AFG-9/0 after three overs.
6:08 PM IST: Beuran Hendricks, left-arm fast medium bowler, shares the new ball with Kagiso Rabada. A maiden over. Noor Ali Zadran happy to see through the new ball. AFG-4/0 after two overs.
6:04 PM IST: Kagiso Rabada opens the proceedings. First ball to Hazratullah Zazai. Five dots then a four off the last ball to deep. Noor Ali is Zazai's opening partner.
5:40 PM IST: Teams
South Africa are unchanged, while former skipper Asghar Afghan replaces Najibullah Zadran in the Afghanistan XI.— Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) June 15, 2019
FOLLOW #SAvAFG âÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ¶ï¸ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ https://t.co/1Pwa3jahvz#ProteaFire#AfghanAtalan pic.twitter.com/siXFAPA0RP
South Africa: Quinton de Kock (wk), Hashim Amla, Aiden Markram, Faf du Plessis (c), Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada, Imran Tahir, Beuran Hendricks
Afghanistan: Hazratullah Zazai, Noor Ali Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Asghar Afghan, Gulbadin Naib (c), Mohammad Nabi, Ikram Ali Khil (wk), Rashid Khan, Aftab Alam, Hamid Hassan
5:33 PM IST: South Africa win the toss, bowl first against Afghanistan.
South Africa are in a mess -- defeats, injuries and players under-performing. They were honoured with the opening day fixture, but lost to England. It was followed by contrasting defeats to Bangladesh and India. Their only high point of the tournament was the rained-off against West Indies. Such is their plight. But they can still hope for good things to come. For that, they first need to beat Afghanistan, the minnows.
The Proteas have three losses and a no-result from their first four matches at this World Cup. A win today and they will be in the exact same position after five games as the 1992 Pakistan team who went on to win the tournament. Good point to ponder!
Afghanistan too have suffered a similar fate in the tournament so far. It's has been a story of batting collapses and their star-studded bowling line-up coming short. In the three matches they have played so far, Afghans have managed scores of 207 against Australia, 152 against Sri Lanka and 172 against New Zealand -- totals that have been deemed chaseable decades back in ODI cricket.
Meanwhile, the rain may still get to play its part.
This will be the first match between South Africa and Afghanistan in ODI cricket.
South Africa have lost their last three ODIs. The last time they lost more consecutive ODIs was a four-game stretch against England in England (August 2008).
Afghanistan have lost their last three ODIs, only once before have they lost more consecutive matches in this format since their debut fixture in 2009, a four-game run in 2015 which included three ICC Cricket World Cup matches.
Imran Tahir is set to bowl in an ODI for the 100th time. He has bowled 180 balls in this World Cup and is yet to be hit for a six. He is the only spinner to have bowled 100 or more balls and not be hit for a six at the tournament.
Hashmatullah Shahidi of Afghanistan needs 54 runs to reach 1,000 in ODIs.
South African duo David Miller and Hashim Amla are both nearing ODI batting milestones. Miller needs just nine runs to reach 3,000 whilst Amla needs 65 to reach 8,000.
"Everyone has written the team off. So, there's our backs against the wall as a team. So hopefully that will allow the guys to come out and play the way we want them to play and the way we can play. And I believe if we truly do that we'll be a dangerous team. But we haven't fully unlocked the potential that we do have in our side," Faf du Plessis (South Africa captain)
"If you look at our last three games and how we played, we didn't click in any department. We just need a good start to the match or to the innings. South Africa also lost three games. They're also struggling to make a good start. It's going to be a good game for cricket, I'm hoping. If we play good cricket, obviously, in the end, you will have a good result," Gulbadin Naib (Afghanistan captain)
South Africa: Quinton de Kock (wk), Hashim Amla, Aiden Markram, Faf du Plessis (c), Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada, Imran Tahir, Beuran Hendricks, Lungi Ngidi, Dwaine Pretorius, Tabraiz Shamsi, Jean-Paul Duminy
Afghanistan: Hazratullah Zazai, Noor Ali Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Gulbadin Naib (c), Mohammad Nabi, Najibullah Zadran, Ikram Ali Khil (wk), Rashid Khan, Aftab Alam, Hamid Hassan, Samiullah Shinwari, Dawlat Zadran, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Asghar Afghan