It was a dead rubber. The scoreboard will also convey the same message. But there was excitement. Afghanistan fought with all the weapons in its arsenal. South Africa, especially van der Dussen, had to stay sharp and steady to deflect the Afghan blows. Eventually, it was another victory for the men from Africa who would face the mighty Aussies in the semi-final. The Afghan dreams of another major upset were shattered, but they would feel content with their performances at the World Cup.
South Africa made two alterations from the side that was destroyed by the Indian bowling. Marco Jansen finally earned his much-deserved rest after serving his country relentlessly with both bat and ball. Andile Phehulkwayo made his first appearance in this year’s tournament. Tabraiz Shamsi missed out on giving young pacer Gerald Coetzee a shot at the Afghan bowling.
Afghanistan played with an unchanged eleven that were left heartbroken by the once-in-a-lifetime performance by Glenn Maxwell. They were looking to end their memorable campaign on a high as there was not any virtual chance for them to qualify for the semi-final stage of the World Cup.
- Quinton de Kock (WK) 2. Temba Bavuma (Cap.) 3. Rassie van der Dussen 4. Aiden Markram 5. Heinrich Klaasen 6. David Miller 7. Andile Phehlukwayo 8. Gerald Coetzee 9. Keshav Maharaj 10. Kagiso Rabada 11. Lungi Ngidi
- Rahmanullah Gurbaz 2. Ibrahim Zadran 3. Rahmat Shah 4. Hashmatullah Shahidi (Cap.) 5. Azmatullah Omarzai 6. Ikram Alikhil (WK) 7. Mohammad Nabi 8. Rashid Khan 9. Mujeeb Ur Rahman 10. Noor Ahmed 11. Naveen-Ul-Haq
The Narendra Modi Stadium has been known to have been favorable to the spin bowlers. There is little effect of dew found in the evening. The pacers also seem to find some assistance from the surface, with 15 wickets taken from the last three matches. The same thing was noticed in the last game between England and Australia.
Afghanistan and South Africa have previously met only once in their history. South Africa has a 100% record in this fixture.
|Venue||The 42nd match of the 2023 World Cup took place in the 132,000-seater Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India.|
|Date||The game started at 02:30 p.m. IST on Friday, 10 November.|
Captaincy & Tactics
In a captivating display of skill and determination, Rassie van der Dussen and Andile Phehlukwayo orchestrated a remarkable partnership, propelling South Africa to a triumphant win against Afghanistan in their final league-stage game of the 2023 ODI World Cup. This crucial victory not only bolstered South Africa’s confidence but also ensured they approached their upcoming semi-final clash against Australia with unwavering momentum.
Facing a tricky chase and a formidable Afghan spin attack, Phehlukwayo entered the field as the No. 7 batsman, with South Africa requiring 63 runs to secure victory. As the game’s momentum swayed in Afghanistan’s favor, Phehlukwayo exhibited nerves of steel and unleashed a stunning display of power hitting. He finished the match unbeaten on 39 runs, sealing the win with a flurry of boundaries that included two towering sixes and a resounding four. Meanwhile, van der Dussen provided a masterful anchor, steering the chase with composed innings of 76, not out of 95 deliveries.
Earlier in the day, South Africa had set the stage for their memorable victory by restricting Afghanistan’s batting lineup. Utilizing their skill and precision, Gerald Coetzee and Keshav Maharaj spearheaded the bowling attack, ensuring Afghanistan could only muster a total of 244 runs in their allotted 50 overs. Coetzee’s formidable figures of 4-44 created havoc among the Afghan batsmen, while Maharaj’s disciplined spell of 2-25 stifled their scoring opportunities. However, it was Azmatullah Omarzai who stood tall amidst the crumbling Afghan innings, showcasing remarkable resilience with an unbeaten innings of 97, that prevented his team from collapsing entirely.
Afghanistan departs from the 2023 World Cup before reaching the knockout stage, yet their performance throughout the tournament has earned them the title of “team of the tournament” in the eyes of many. Securing a sixth-place finish, they have also secured a spot at the 2025 Champions Trophy, indicating their potential as serious contenders in future competitions.
While Afghanistan may initially ponder over missed opportunities, such as their batting against Bangladesh and the dropped catches against New Zealand, particularly the crucial one-off Glenn Maxwell’s bat during the Australia game when he was only on 33 before going on to score a match-winning double-hundred, a broader perspective should fill them with immense pride. Their campaign has made a statement, showcasing both collective and individual performances that provide a solid foundation for growth.
In their match against South Africa in Ahmedabad, one standout performer was Azmatullah Omarzai, an impressive all-rounder who fell just three runs short of becoming the second Afghan player to score a century in a World Cup match. Finishing as their second-highest run-scorer with an exceptional average, Omarzai truly shone on this global stage.
What makes Omarzai’s World Cup performance all the more remarkable is that he had only participated in 14 ODIs prior to the tournament and had never batted at the number 5 position for the national team. In his first appearance, he smashed 62 runs against India in Delhi, revealing the batting blueprint that Afghanistan would follow throughout the rest of the tournament. He followed up with two additional unbeaten half-centuries against Sri Lanka and South Africa, showcasing his versatility as a reliable batsman. Furthermore, Omarzai made a valuable contribution with the ball, claiming seven wickets along the way. Observing his performance, it becomes evident that he possesses exceptional ball-striking skills and a strong ability to exploit wide deliveries.
Overall, Afghanistan’s journey in the 2023 World Cup may have ended sooner than desired, but their remarkable display of maturity and potential warrants celebration. As they reflect on their campaign, they can confidently look ahead, armed with valuable experience and a foundation upon which to build their future success.
Afghanistan’s comeback began after South Africa’s openers, Temba Bavuma and Quinton de Kock, laid a solid foundation with a 64-run partnership for the first wicket. However, the wickets of Bavuma (23) and de Kock (41) in quick succession, courtesy of skilled bowlers Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi, created pressure on South Africa. Led by the penetrating spell of Rashid Khan, who claimed 2 wickets for 37 runs.
Afghanistan continued to apply pressure. Aiden Markram, Heinrich Klaasen, and David Miller were dismissed without causing significant damage. With Phehlukwayo joining van der Dussen, it seemed that Afghanistan was on the brink of exposing South Africa’s vulnerable lower order. However, a determined partnership between van der Dussen and Phehlukwayo shattered any doubts about South Africa’s ability to chase a challenging target. Noor Ahmed was excellent once again after shining with the ball against Pakistan.
Van der Dussen, who deservedly earned the Player of the Match accolade, showcased remarkable composure and accumulated an unbeaten 76 runs. Walking in at 64 for 1, he expertly rotated the strike and kept the scoreboard ticking. Van der Dussen’s innings included 38 runs off singles and 4 runs off twos, highlighting his ability to maintain control and build partnerships. With his adeptness against Afghan spinners and a penchant for punishing loose deliveries, van der Dussen ensured that South Africa remained in control of the chase. His well-placed shots, particularly behind square, yielded six boundaries, five of which were struck between deep third and deep backward square leg.
With their captivating win, South Africa now sets their sights on a semifinal clash against Australia, reminiscent of their classic encounter in the 1999 World Cup semifinals. The victor of this nostalgic battle will earn a spot in the final, scheduled to take place in Ahmedabad on November 19. South Africa’s tremendous display of skill and resilience has solidified their position as strong contenders for the coveted title. As the tournament progresses towards its thrilling conclusion, cricket enthusiasts eagerly anticipate more high-stakes clashes and moments of brilliance from the world’s best players and securing a place in the 2025 Champions Trophy. They finished at least sixth place on the points table.
Afghanistan elected to bat first, aware that they needed an astounding victory margin of 438 runs to secure a place in the semifinals. While Afghanistan’s opening stand displayed promise, the brilliant bowling display from South Africa’s Keshav Maharaj and Gerald Coetzee derailed their progress. Two wicket-maiden overs, bowled by Maharaj and Coetzee, sent Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran back to the pavilion in quick succession. Maharaj further dismantled Afghanistan’s top order by dismissing Shahidi, leaving Afghanistan struggling at 45 for 3. Maharaj’s miserly spell of 2 for 25, featuring 41 dot balls and no boundaries, stifled Afghanistan’s scoring opportunities.
Coetzee’s fiery performance through the middle overs added to Afghanistan’s woes. He showcased exceptional bowling skills, accounting for crucial wickets such as Ibrahim Alikhil and Noor, both caught behind. Coetzee’s remarkable figures of 4 for 44 highlighted his effectiveness in dismantling Afghanistan’s batting lineup. While Kagiso Rabada remained wicketless, he played a pivotal role in limiting Afghanistan’s scoring by conceding only 40 runs in his 10 overs. Despite Lungi Ngidi being hampered by a hamstring issue, his two important wickets helped South Africa keep Afghanistan’s run rate in check despite being slightly expensive towards the end of the innings.
Coetzee has been exceeding all expectations by generating express pace and picking up regular wickets. Coetzee has played 7 games; he has picked up 18 wickets. He has averaged 19.38 for every wicket. Gerald Coetzee has been regularly clocking at 148 km/h on the docile Indian wickets. He looks like quite a prospect for the future.
During Afghanistan’s innings, it was Omarzai who emerged as a wrecker-in-chief, particularly against Ngidi. Arriving at the crease when Afghanistan’s scorecard read 45 for 3, Omarzai displayed tremendous resilience as wickets continued to fall around him. Alongside Rashid Khan and Noor, he guided Afghanistan from 116 for 6 to 204 for 8.
While falling agonizingly short of a century, Omarzai’s valiant knock of seven fours and three sixes provided Afghanistan with a defendable total. A disciplined over from Rabada ensured Omarzai departed three runs shy of the milestone. Nonetheless, Afghanistan showcased remarkable determination, ending their World Cup campaign with their heads held high, securing their best-ever performance in the tournament.
Just like he did against England, Rashid Khan probed and penetrated the Proteas’ defences. His skidded deliveries were posing a hard challenge for the batters who could not play the ball on the front foot due to the pace Rashid generates off the surface. Mohammad Nabi does not do much with the ball in terms of turn or bounce. His variations in pace have been a major concern for the batters on Indian pitch, where the ball does not come to the bat easily. Nabi gave away just 35 runs from his 10 overs. His personal battle with Phelukwayo was fascinating to see, with the South African all-rounder coming out unscathed despite some close calls. Nabi has had a meteoric rise in world cricket and has seen the Afghanistan team from division 5 to beating world champions.
Quinton de Kock might be playing in his final World Cup, but he is making it the most memorable one of his career. The 30-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman has had a wonderful day behind the stumps. He picked up six catches as South African bowlers established a grip on the game. Eventually, the Afghan innings yielded a modest target, with Azmatullah getting run out at the last delivery of the first innings.
The Afghan fielding department was a huge factor in the team’s loss against Australia. They dropped Maxwell twice, which ultimately cost them the game. It was a much-improved performance this time out, though, with catches being completed properly. However, the Afghans need to be more proactive and aggressive in the field if they want to reach world-class levels.
Azmatullah Omarzai has been consistent with both bat and ball. He scored a splendid innings of 97 runs from 107 balls to give the Afghan bowlers something to defend. Omarzai missed out on a memorable century as he ran out of deliveries. Noor Ahmed gave him company out in the middle by scoring 28 runs from 26 balls. Gerald Coetzee was back with a bang by claiming four wickets for 44 runs. Keshav Maharaj continued his fine form at this World Cup with 2 for just 25 runs from 10 overs. Lungi Ngidi was expensive, with 69 runs conceded from a ten-over spell; he also claimed a couple of scalps.
Rassie van der Dussen played the role of anchor perfectly to steer South Africa to victory. The top-order batsman scored 76 off 95 balls to provide enough backing in the chase. Quinton de Kock was not the usual self. However, he scored 41 runs from 47 balls. After several close calls in the earlier deliveries, Andile Pheklukwayo hit some boundaries on his way to a 39-run innings. Mohammad Nabi made his last match at the World Cup memorable with 2 for 35. Rashid Khan was unplayable at times; he also got 2 wickets to his name as Afghan spinners asserted domination over the South African batters.
Rassie van der Dussen has had a mixed bag in terms of runs in this World Cup. He came into the pitch after the fall of the second wicket. Quinton de Kock was dismissed for 41 runs from 47 balls. With South Africa at 66/2 from 13.2 overs and the Afghan spinners dominating the proceedings, Rassie van der Dussen had a tough job of containing the Afghan bowlers.
It was an arduous task on a turning wicket with the Afghan bowlers bowling on a tight line. But van der Dussen was unfazed; he played the ball by using his feet accordingly. Van der Dussen built partnerships with Markram, Miller, and Phelukwayo to complete the assignment of reaching the modest target. He was unbeaten after playing a fantastic innings, instigating his country towards victory.
South Africa recorded their 7th win of the tournament by beating Afghanistan by 5 wickets with 15 balls to spare.
Player of the Match
For his steady, unbeaten innings of 76 from 95 balls, Rassie van der Dussen was adjudged as the best player of the match.
|Afghanistan Total: 244/10 (50 overs)||South Africa Total: 247/5 (47.3 overs)|
|Azmatullah Omarzai 97* (107)||Rassie van der Dussen 76* (95)|
|Noor Ahmed 26 (32)||Quinton de Kock 41 (47)|
|Gerald Coetzee 4/44 (10)||Mohammad Nabi 2/35 (10)|
|Keshav Maharaj 2/25 (10)||Rashid Khan 2/37 (10)|
South Africans have been unstoppable whenever they have come out to bat first in this tournament. Nevertheless, this successful run chase will give the Proteas confidence before facing Australia in Kolkata for a spot in the final for the first time in their history. Afghanistan can be proud of their achievements in this World Cup after beating three of the former World Cup champions. The message is clear – the Afghan boys are on the right track to becoming the next global superpower in cricket.