South Africa advanced to the Super Eights after an impressive bowling display secured a 59-run win against Afghanistan.
The lottery of the T20 format and the disappointing performance in the defeat against India created some concerns for South Africa heading into this crucial fixture. However, realistically, did Afghanistan really stand a chance of beating the Proteas, who have more top-level experience and have world-class players in their squad? Captain Graeme Smith and his team answered all the wishful thinkers with a convincing victory.
While South Africa have depended a lot on their batsmen in recent times, it were the bowlers who produced the match-winning performance as they skittled the Afghans for a 80 in 16 overs.
However, it was an indifferent start to the innings for the Proteas. After Smith smashed 13 off the first over, his opening partner Loots Bosman was run out off his first ball. Smith and Jacques Kallis then steadied the innings, with the latter top scoring with 34 off 33 balls.
Afghan bowler Hamid Hassan picked up four vital wickets which slowed South Africa’s run-rate. JP Duminy (25 off 21 balls) and Albie Morkel (23 off 17 balls) were the only other batsmen to impress as South Africa finished on a modest 139-7.
With the ball, Dale Steyn, Charl Langeveldt and Morne Morkel ripped through Afghanistan’s batting order as the new-comers slumped to 25-7. Mirwais Ashraf and Hassan added some respectability to the score, but in the end South Africa sealed the win as Langeveldt finished off the tail.
The Proteas now face New Zealand in their first Super Eights fixture on Thursday.
South Africa 139-7 (20 overs)
Jacques Kallis 34, Graeme Smith 27, Hamid Hassan 3-21.
Afghanistan 80 (16 overs)
Mirwais Ashraf 23, Hamid Hassan 22, Morné Morkel 4-20.
South Africa won by 59 runs
For a full scorecard click here