South Africa defeated Afghanistan by five wickets with 15 balls remaining in their final World Cup group game, securing second place in the standings. South Africa now has 14 points from nine games, two points ahead of Australia. Both teams have already qualified for the semi-finals and will face each other in Kolkata on Thursday. South Africa’s captain, Temba Bavuma, expressed confidence in their winning momentum and highlighted the significance of their victory while batting second. He also mentioned their goal of playing in the final in front of a full capacity crowd, but acknowledged the hurdle they must overcome against Australia.
Afghanistan chose to bat first but struggled to build partnerships as South Africa consistently took wickets. They managed to post a total of 244 runs in 50 overs, with Azmatullah Omarzai contributing an unbeaten knock of 97. However, he fell just three runs short of his first ODI century as Kagiso Rabada conceded only three runs in the final over. Gerald Coetzee was the standout bowler for South Africa, taking four wickets, while Quinton De Kock equaled the record for most wicketkeeping dismissals in a World Cup match with six catches.
In response, De Kock played a crucial role in the chase, scoring a quick 41 runs and becoming the tournament’s leading run-scorer with 591 runs. However, South Africa found themselves in a challenging position at 182-5. Rassie van der Dussen, with an unbeaten 76, guided the team to victory, forming a 65-run partnership with Andile Phehlukwayo, who sealed the win with a massive six in the 48th over. Van der Dussen emphasized the importance of having an anchor in a chase and praised the team’s batting lineup for their partnerships in the middle.
Afghanistan concluded their best-ever World Cup campaign with four wins and secured a place in the Champions Trophy. Captain Hashmatullah Shahidi viewed the tournament as a valuable learning experience for the team, which was once considered World Cup minnows. He expressed pride in the team’s performance, particularly the batsmen, and highlighted the positive outlook for the future. Shahidi also mentioned the team’s strong spin department and the potential for them to become a formidable side if they maintain the momentum they gained with the bat.
Overall, South Africa’s victory solidified their position in the standings, while Afghanistan showcased their growth and potential as a team.
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