South Africa seek to bounce back against Afghanistan

South Africa face defeat in their first match against England by two wickets on Friday at Wankhede Stadium


Afp March 19, 2016
PHOTO: AFP

MUMBAI, INDIA: South Africa will be gunning to get their bid for a first international trophy back on track when they take on Afghanistan Sunday after a dramatic last-over loss to England.

The Proteas are desperate to shed their chokers tag but on Friday showed scant evidence of the mettle required to win a major tournament as England successfully chased their imposing total.

South Africa looked in the driving seat after posting 229-4 but slack bowling and a commanding 83 by Joe Root helped England set the record for the highest run-chase in World Twenty20 history.

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Faf du Plessis's side gave away 26 extras, while fast bowler Dale Steyn conceded 23 runs in just the second over, as Eoin Morgan's England reached 230-8 with only two balls to spare at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium.

"Unfortunately the extras let us down too much. Too many wides and that's something we need to look at," all-rounder JP Duminy told reporters afterwards.

Duminy, who finished on 54 not out, said however there were "positives" to take from South Africa's batting performance, which also included half-centuries from Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla.

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"It's a quick turnaround, Afghanistan coming on Sunday and we have to make sure that we prepare well for that game," added the left-handed batsman.

Afghanistan, the only non-Test side left in the competition, will be looking to be no pushovers during Sunday's clash.

Skipper Asghar Stanikzai's team, who have to play all their matches away from their war-torn home, defied the odds to cruise through the preliminary round before losing by six wickets to Sri Lanka.

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Destructive opener Mohammad Shahzad is their best chance of doing some damage to South Africa's fragile bowling attack when they meet in the day match at the Wankhede.

South Africa have never won a world cup in T20 and 50-over cricket but were one of the favourites coming into this tournament due to their formidable batting line-up and third spot in the world rankings.

Since their readmission in 1991 after the apartheid-era ban, the Proteas have been the nearly men of world tournament cricket, falling agonisingly short of finals on several occasions.

Duminy 31, admitted Friday's Super 10 Group One defeat meant South Africa were now under the cosh.

"There's a long way to go in this tournament and we obviously as a team are now under the pump and we have to pretty much win every game," he said.

South Africa: Faf du Plessis (captain), Kyle Abbott, Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Imran Tahir, Chris Morris, David Miller, Aaron Phangiso, Kagiso Rabada, Rilee Rossouw, Dale Steyn, David Wiese

Afghanistan:

Asghar Stanikzai (captain), Amir Hamza, Dawlat Zadran, Gulbadin Naib, Hamid Hassan, Karim Sadiq, Mohammad Nabi, Mohammad Shahzad, Najibullah Zadran, Noor Ali Zadran, Rashid Khan, Samiullah Shenwari, Shafiqullah Shafiq, Shapoor Zadran, Usman Ghani

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