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World Cup: SA, Afghanistan look to open account

June 14, 2019 16:20 IST

South Africa have been mostly done in by their inexperienced batting line-up, coupled with injuries to a few of their key players

IMAGE: South Africa have been mostly done in by their inexperienced batting line-up, coupled with injuries to a few of their key players. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Reuters

Winless so far in the tournament, both South Africa and Afghanistan will eagerly hope to finally get a victory against their name when they face off in a ICC World Cup encounter in Cardiff on Saturday.

Down and out, the two bottom-placed teams know that this will be their best chance to post their first win in the ongoing 50-over showpiece.

This is perhaps the first time that South Africa, from the very beginning, were never in contention to make it to the semi-finals but remaining winless after four matches is something unexpected.

 

After three straight losses against England, Bangladesh and India, their fourth match against the West Indies was abandoned due to rain.

Afghanistan faced a similar fate, losing all three of their matches till now to defending champions Australia, Sri Lanka and New Zealand. However, the players can take confidence from the fact that they gave a good account of themselves against the Sri Lankans and almost pulled it off.

While Afghanistan will be fancying their chances against a lowly South Africa side, the Proteas would be more than keen to live up to their past reputation and make a statement against the Asian minnows.

South Africa have been mostly done in by their inexperienced batting line-up, coupled with injuries to a few of their key players. The Proteas batsmen have been struggling, and even in the washed-out game against West Indies, they were down to 29/2 before the match was called off.

Experienced Hashim Amla has been is in dismal form and the semi-finalists of the 2015 edition can only hope that their veteran batsmen start to fire.

The responsibility rests on the shoulders of skipper Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock and the two will be expected to bring their 'A' game into the fore against Afghanistan.

Batting remains a concern for Afghanistan as well and with Mohammad Shahzad back home due to fitness issues, they will have their back against the wall.

It would be an uphill task for the Afghanistan batters against the likes of Kagiso Rabada and Imran Tahir.

The Teams (from):

South Africa: Faf du Plessis (c), Aiden Markram, Quinton de Kock (wk), Hashim Amla, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Chris Morris, Andile Phehlukwayo, JP Duminy, Dwaine Pretorius, Beuran Hendricks, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Imran Tahir, Tabraiz Shamsi.

Afghanistan: Gulbadin Naib (c), Noor Ali Zadran, Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah (wk), Asghar Afghan, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Najibullah Zadran, Samiullah Shinwari, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Dawlat Zadran, Aftab Alam, Hamid Hassan, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Ikram Ali Khil.

Match starts at 6pm IST.

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