South Africa cruise to comprehensive victory
South Africa cruised to a comprehensive 59 runs victory over Afghanistan to seal a place in the Super Eights after the Proteas fast bowlers tore through the Afghans batting line up bowling them all out for just 80.
With an amazing victory a possibility after restricting South Africa to just 139 runs the Afghans their top order had to survive a hostile opening spell of bowling form Dale Steyn, one of the world quickest bowler.
He opened the attack and gave Noor Ali a task of world class pace bowling.
Steyn’s first delivery zipped past Noor Ali’s bat at 91.2 mph, the second just missed an outside edge, the third was banged in short and called wide before the fourth delivery zipped by at 88.3 mph taking an edge through to Mark Boucher behind the stumps.
It was the perfect start for South Africa and a sign of things to come. Having survived Charl Langeveldt’s first over Steyn returned and proved to quick for Mohammad Shahzad who edge a delivery behind to leave the Afghans 5-2.
Morne Morkel replaced Langeveldt and bowled a devastating over picking up three more wickets as the Afghans batsmen were unable to handle the pace and bounce of the South African bowling attack.
Nowroz Mangal (1) was the first to go picking out Jaques Kallis in the slips. Three balls later Karim Sadiq (2) was caught by AB de Villiers before Raees Ahmadzai (4) struck hitting a boundary before he was caught by Boucher of the next ball to reduce the Afghans to 14-5.
Asghar Stanikzai and Mohammad Nabi then survived Steyn’s next over before Morkel returned to dismiss Mohammad Nabi (0) who was caught in the slips by JP Duminy as the Afghans crashed to 14-6.
Samiullah Shenwari gave the Afghan fans something to cheer about after he smashed a Morkel Free Hit for a massive six over long-on.
Langeveldt joined the party by dismissing Asghar Stanikzai (3) at the end of the sixth over after bowling a bouncer which Stanikzai fended away and was caught by Styen simply at midwicket.
Mirwais Ashraf and Samiullah Shenwari offered some resistant’s with a partnership of 7 that lasted 6 balls before Samiullah Shenwari (11) was run out by de Villiers to leave the Afghans 32-8.
With a crushing defeat on the cards Hamid Hassan and Mirwais Ashraf offered the Afghans something to cheer with a partnership of 33 which included two big sixes off the bowling of Morkel and another from Roelof van der Merwe.
The partnership was ended by Langeveldt in the 13th over after Mirwais Ashraf (23) middle stump was knocked over to end his impressive innings.
After such a shocking start the Afghans hung in there long enough to pass Kenya’s score of 67 against Ireland which is the lowest score ever recorded in Twenty20 International cricket.
The innings was finally ended by Langeveldt who dismissed Hassan (22) to end the Afghans resistant’s.
After such an amazing journey to the West Indies is was a sad ending to amazing fairy tale for the Afghans who were blown away by Steyn and Morkel in a devastating spell of bowling which Afghanistan had never experienced before.
Having won the toss Graeme Smith got South Africa off to a good start hitting three boundaries in the first over as Shapoor Zadran got off to an expensive start as Smith made the batting look worryingly easy.
To their credit Afghanistan hit back straight away thanks to some exceptional fielding; Loots Bosman (0), facing his first ball of the innings ran a quick leg bye but when he turned back for a second he was run out by a direct throw from Mirwais Ashraf to cue wild celebration from the Afghan players.
With the wicket of Bosman falling Smith was joined at the crease by Jacques Kallis and the pair wasted little time taking control of the game.
The pair smashed a quick fire partnership of 32 from just 19 balls which included two mammoth sixes from Kallis off the bowling of Mirwais Ashraf as the Proteas showed they were in no mood to be this years World Cup slain giant.
After 4 overs South Africa were 45-1; with still two more power play overs to go they were already well placed for a commanding score, but, having already survived a run out opportunity Smith was dismissed at the start of the 5th over.
Faced with the spin bowling of Mohammad Nabi, Smith (27) tried to smash a six straight down the ground but he played the shot to early which resulted in the ball dropping short of the boundary into the hands of skipper Nowroz Mangal to leave the Proteas 45-2.
Despite the vast gulf in experience between the two teams the wicket of Smith brought the Afghans back into the game thanks to their spinners who halted the Proteas quick start.
Kallis and AB de Villiers struggled to find the boundary thanks to Samiullah Shenwari as the spinner made it almost impossible to score conceding just 14 runs from his 4 overs.
With the run rate slowing down and pressure mounting de Villiers (11) tried to attack Nowroz Mangal but he misjudged the flight of the ball and was stumped by Mohammad Shahzad.
Amazingly Kallis (34) followed de Villiers back into the dugout 2 overs later after he was caught by Mohammad Shahzad to give the Hamid Hassan his first wicket of the night and leave South Africa 84-4 after 12.1.
Hassan made further inroads into the Proteas batting line-up with the first ball of the 14th over trapping Mark Boucher LBW to reduce the Proteas to 90-5.
With 5 over to go Afghanistan were well placed to cause a major upset but Morkel came to South Africa’s rescue with a quick fire 25 to ease the Proteas worries. Supported by Duminy (25) the pair readdressed the balance of the game with a partnership of 43.
The impressive Hamid Hassan completed his four over spell by picking up the wicket of Duminy as Afghanistan fought for every run and every wicket.
By the end of the innings Morkel had helped South Africa reach 139-7. With Hamid Hassan highly impressive creating bounce and pace the Afghans will now have to chase victory batting against Dale Steyn and Morkel who will take advantage of the bowler friendly wicket.