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Rediff.com  » Cricket » PIX: Van der Dussen steers SA past Afghanistan

PIX: Van der Dussen steers SA past Afghanistan

Last updated on: November 10, 2023 22:40 IST
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Images from the ICC World Cup match between  Afghanistan and South Africa, at the Narendra Modi stadium in Ahmedabad, on Friday.

South Africa's Rassie van der Dussen celebrates scoring a half century during the ICC World Cup match agaimst Afghanistan in Ahmedabad on Friday.

IMAGE: Rassie van der Dussen acknowledges the applause from the stands after scoring a half century during the ICC World Cup match against Afghanistan in Ahmedabad on Friday. Photograph: Amit Dave/Reuters

Rassie van der Dussen’s unbeaten half-century and a 64-run partnership for the first wicket between Quinton de Kock and Temba Bavuma helped South Africa beat Afghanistan by five wickets in their concluding league fixture of the ICC World Cup in Ahmedabad on Friday.

Chasing 245 for victory, the Proteas, who had already qualified for the semi-finals, completed the task with 15 balls to spare.

 

They now have 14 points and continue to occupy the second spot behind India, who have 16 points.

De Kock (41) and Bavuma (23) gave the Proteas the early push before Van der Dussen scored an unbeaten 76 off 95 balls to guide the team home.

Mujeeb Ur Rahman rejoices with his Afghanistan teammates after taking the wicket of South Africa captain Temba Bavuma

IMAGE: Mujeeb-Ur Rahman celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of South Africa captain Temba Bavuma. Photograph: Amit Dave/Reuters

This will be a morale-boosting for South Africa going into the semi-finals as they finally won comfortably chasing a target.

The defeat notwithstanding, Afghanistan, who shocked defending champions England and Pakistan in a promising campaign, go home with heads held high.

On a pitch without any demons, South Africa started their chase confidently, but as the match progressed things didn't pan out the way they would have liked it to.

Rashid Khan celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of Heinrich Klaasen

IMAGE: Rashid Khan reacts as his Afghan teammates celebrate the wicket of Heinrich Klaasen. Photograph: Amit Dave/Reuters

The in-form Quinton de Kock (41 off 47 balls) made his intentions clear quite early with a four and a six off Mujeeb Ur Rahman, dancing down the track to pummel the seasoned bowler over mid-off.

The dashing left-handed batter, who went past Rachin Ravindra to become the leading scorer of this tournament, then pulled a Naveen-ul-Haq half-tracker over deep square leg for a maximum.

De Kock, however, could not go on to make a big one as he was adjudged trapped in front of the wicket by Mohammad Nabi, who chose to review after failing to convince the on-field umpire.

 Mohammad Nabi celebrates the wicket of David Miller

IMAGE: Mohammad Nabi gets high-fives after dismissing David Miller. Photograph: Amit Dave/Reuters

Looking to play the reverse sweep, De Kock missed and the ball hit the pads, prompting Nabi to go for a loud appeal. Afghanistan's move to review the decision was vindicated when the ball tracking showed that it was going to hit the leg stump.

De Kock, who had earlier in the day joined the likes of Adam Gilchrist and Sarfaraz Khan by taking six catches, struck two fours and three sixes.

Rassie van der Dussen in action

IMAGE: Rassie van der Dussen hit 6 fours and a six while scoring 76 off 95 balls. Photograph: Amit Dave/Reuters

Meanwhile, skipper Temba Bavuma's (23 off 28) poor run continued as he was shown the door by Mujeeb, who had the batter in all sorts of trouble with a back of a length delivery that hurried onto him.

Bavuma, who looked like he was struggling while fielding, seemed to battle cramps after he had come out to bat with an intention to spend some time in the middle following an underwhelming sequence of scores.

Aiden Markram (25 off 32) also gave his wicket away easily after getting a start while Heinrich Klaasen was dismissed by the wily Rashid Khan, a well-deserved reward for some excellent bowling, as South Africa slipped to 139 for four in the 28th over.

A 43-run partnership ensued before Nabi had David Miller (24 off 33) in a rather soft dismissal, leaving Van der Dussen to complete the job.

Azmatullah Omarzai

IMAGE: Afghanistan's Azmatullah Omarzai missed out on a hundred by three runs, scoring 7 fours and 3 sixes in his 107-ball knock. Photograph: Amit Dave/Reuters

Earlier, young all-rounder Azmatullah Omarzai left a lasting impression on World Cup 2023 with an unbeaten 97-run knock as Afghanistan laboured to 244.

Continuing his good run in the tournament, Omarzai hammered 7 fours and 3 sixes in his 107-ball knock. Sadly, he missed out on a maiden ODI hundred after failing to score off the last three deliveries in the final over of the innings, bowled by Kagiso Rabada.

Gerald Coetzee was the most successful South African bowler, finishing with figures of 4 for 44 in 10 overs.

Afghanistan were off to a steady start after skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi opted to bat first, but South Africa meant business and snared three wickets for four runs, leaving them in a spot of bother at 45 for 3 in the 11th over.

Gerald Coetzee celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of Afghanistan opener Ibrahim Zadran.

IMAGE: Gerald Coetzee celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of Afghanistan opener Ibrahim Zadran. Photograph: Amit Dave/Reuters

At that point it seemed as if the decision to bat first would backfire even as Temba Bavuma marshalled his resources well to keep South Africa ahead in the game at the Narendra Modi stadium.

Even before the Proteas could celebrate the first breakthrough they faced an anxious moment when pacer Lungi Ngidi went off the field after suffering what looked like an ankle or achilles issue.

The pacer, however, returned to pick the wickets of Rahmat Shah and Mohammad Nabi, who nicked one to Quinton de Kock after facing just three balls, leaving his team reeling at 116 for 6 in the 28th over.

Rahmat Shah

IMAGE: Rahmat Shah hits a boundary during his 26 off 46 balls. Photograph: Amit Dave/Reuters

Having smoked lead pacer Rabada's length ball outside off for a six over long-on, Rahmanullah Gurbaz found the fence again when he produced a lovely cover drive against the same bowler.

Coetzee was welcomed to the attack with two authoritative boundaries by Gurbaz, who raced to 25 off 21 balls.

Gerald Coetzee and teammates celebrate taking the wicket of Ikram Alikhil

IMAGE: Gerald Coetzee and teammates celebrate taking the wicket of Ikram Alikhil. Photograph: Amit Dave/Reuters

Desperately looking for a breakthrough, Bavuma introduced Keshav Maharaj into the attack and the left-arm spinner straightaway responded with the big wicket of Gurbaz, who edged a turning delivery to Heinrich Klaasen at the first slip.

Not only did Maharaj strike with his first ball, he also enjoyed a wicket-maiden, giving South Africa a bit of a momentum which they used to their advantage by quickly grabbing two more wickets.

Keshav Maharaj celebrates with Rassie van der Dussen after taking the wicket Hashmatullah Shahidi

IMAGE: Keshav Maharaj celebrates with Rassie van der Dussen after taking the wicket Hashmatullah Shahidi. Photograph: Amit Dave/Reuters

Much was expected of Ibrahim Zadran, who scored a brilliant hundred against Australia in their last game, but the opener was done in by a short ball from Coetzee, the batter giving a catch to De Kock after edging his attempted pull shot.

De Kock went on to finish with a record six catches behind the stumps.

Andile Phehlukwayo celebrates with David Miller after dismissing Rashid Khan

IMAGE: Andile Phehlukwayo celebrates with David Miller after dismissing Rashid Khan. Photograph: Amit Dave/Reuters

Having started his spell on a fine note, Maharaj struck again, this time removing opposition captain Shahidi, the extra bounce putting the batter in a tricky position as he shaped himself up to play the cut shot.

Omarzai and Rashid Khan kept the scoreboard ticking during a 44-run stand for the sixth wicket, helping their team cross 150 before the latter fell to a soft dismissal.

Omarzai, then, found another able ally in Noor Ahmad who contributed a useful 26 in a 44-run partnership.

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