Afghanistan thrash South Africa in opener

January 18, 2020

KIMBERLEY, South Africa: A carnival soon turned to a nightmare for the home fans as South Africa were bamboozled by Afghanistan’s wrist-spinners to lose their opening match of the ICC Under-19...

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KIMBERLEY, South Africa: A carnival soon turned to a nightmare for the home fans as South Africa were bamboozled by Afghanistan’s wrist-spinners to lose their opening match of the ICC Under-19 World Cup by seven wickets.

Shafiqullah Ghafari (6-15) was Afghanistan’s wrecker-in-chief, as South Africa collapsed from 62-2 to 129 all out in of 16.3 overs. Ghafari bowled relentlessly from one end, troubling a batting unit that looked out of place against quality spinners. Afghanistan’s batting unit also helped the visitors claim victory with 150 balls to spare.

South Africa are now looking at the prospect of an early exit from home World Cup if they don’t defeat both UAE and Canada.

After winning toss, South Africa were given a pep talk from former international captain Graeme Smith and past U-19 captain Aiden Markram.

For the hosts, their only bright spot was the third-wicket partnership between Parsons (40) and No 4 Luke Beaufort (25). But it was sandwiched between a fiery fast-bowling spell delivered by left-arm seamer Fazal Haque — who took two wickets in his first two overs — and Ghafari’s magic.

After Fazal’s early breakthroughs, Parsons and Beaufort put on 55 for the third wicket to restore some belief in the home crowd, but that ended when Noor was introduced into the attack.

Once Noor dismissed Parsons, it opened one end up, and Ghafari removed Levert Manje and Jack Lees for ducks in his first two overs.

Noor then dismissed the set Beaufort, the sixth South African wicket and after that, Ghafari removed the four lower-order batsmen across his next five overs.

In all, seven South Africa batsmen were out for 8 or less, and if it wasn’t for Gerald Coetzee’s 23-ball cameo of 38 from No 9, South Africa could well have been dismissed for less than 100.

In their chase, Afg­hanistan found the gaps against the pace bowlers regularly to keep the scoreboard moving. Zadran’s experience as a member of the senior Afghanistan team came to prominence, as he anchored his team’s innings with a 72-ball 52 while Imran Mir enthralled the crowd with some lofty shots, scoring 57 in 48 balls. Both reached half-centuries and fell only after bringing Afghanistan close to the target.

Brief scores: Afghanistan 130-3 in 25 overs (Imran 57, Ibrahim 52, Cloate 2-20) beat South Africa 129 all out in 29.1 overs (Parsons 40, Ghafari 6-15, Fazal Haque 2-43) by seven wickets.



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