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South Africa vs Afghanistan: Imran Tahir, Quinton de Kock Shine in Proteas' First Win

South Africa finally arrived to the party as they picked up their first victory of the 2019 World Cup, beating Afghanistan by nine wickets (DLS) in a rain-affected match at the Sophia Gardens in Cardiff on Saturday (June 15).

Cricketnext Staff |June 16, 2019, 7:16 AM IST
South Africa vs Afghanistan: Imran Tahir, Quinton de Kock Shine in Proteas' First Win

South Africa finally arrived to the party as they picked up their first victory of the 2019 World Cup, beating Afghanistan by nine wickets (DLS) in a rain-affected match at the Sophia Gardens in Cardiff on Saturday (June 15).

Having lost their first three encounters, Faf du Plessis's side made a horrible start to their campaign. They opened their account against West Indies where they managed to pick up a point after the match was washed out. However with this convincing win, South Africa have now kept their faltering hopes alive.

Imran Tahir (4 for 29), Chris Morris (3 for 13) and Andile Phehlukwayo (2 for 18) shared nine wickets between them as Proteas bowled Afghanistan out for just 125 runs in an encounter that was reduced to 48 overs per side. In reply, Quinton de Kock (68) and Hashim Amla (41*) formed a solid opening partnership and helped South Africa chase down the total in 28.4 overs.

Earlier, Afghanistan made a bright start but their middle order collapsed spectacularly and just three of their players reached double figures. There was little sign of the carnage to come when Hazratullah Zazai and Noor Ali Zadran put on 39 runs for the first wicket.

After a short rain delay, Zazai was the first to go, caught by Rassie van der Dussen for 22 off the bowling of paceman Kagiso Rabada. Chris Morris trapped Rahmat Shah lbw for six and Afghanistan were 69 for 2 after 20 overs when it started raining again and the covers came on, with officials opting to reduce the match to 48 overs a side.

When play resumed Hashmatullah Shahidi was out without any addition to the score, caught in the slips by Du Plessis off the bowling of Andile Phehlukwayo for 8.

Legspinner Tahir then took over and bowled Zadran for 32 with his first ball and then caught Asghar Afghan off his own bowling for nought in the same over to plunge Afghanistan into deep trouble.

Mohammad Nabi became the third Afghan batsman to lose his wicket in the space of seven balls when he was bowled by Phehlukwayo. When Gulbadin Naib was caught by Aiden Markram of the bowling of Tahir, Afghanistan were teetering on the brink of disaster at 77 for 7.

Rashid Khan however struck 35 from 25 balls, with six fours, but even his late flourish could only lift the score to 125 which was never going to trouble South Africa.

De Kock and Amla took some time to get going before the former broke the shackles by crafting Aftab Alam for a boundary through the covers. While Amla played the waiting game, de Kock steadily started playing his shots and went after Rashid.

The wicketkeeper-batsman brought up his half-century by muscling one of Rashid's deliveries through the mid-wicket region. In an attempt of finishing the match early, de Kock hit one straight to the mid-wicket fielder and that brought an end to a 104-run partnership.

Meanwhile, Amla was able to spend some time on the middle that will help him in coming games. The right-hander was calm with his approach and along with Andile Phehlukwayo, who smashed the final six, got South Africa over the line.

Afghanistan will next play England on Tuesday, while South Africa's next match is against New Zealand on Wednesday.

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2 New Zealand 2829 109
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2 India 7071 122
3 New Zealand 4837 112
4 Australia 5543 111
5 South Africa 5193 110
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2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4720 262
4 India 8620 261
5 Australia 5471 261
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