South Africa vs Afghanistan: Preview and Prediction
The South African cricket team will be concluding their run in the league stage of the 2023 edition of the ICC ODI World Cup with a face-off against the Afghanistan cricket team. The much-hyped battle of cricket is scheduled to be played at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Friday.
The two teams managed to surprise the cricket fraternity with their impressive performances both with the bat and the ball in the tournament so far. With a significant six wins to their name from as many as eight league matches, South Africa is occupying the second place in the points tally. They became the second team to qualify for the second round of the ICC event after India.
The Proteas emerged as the dark horses of the season and the main reason behind the same is the lethal form of the opening batter Quinton de Kock. With the ball, Marco Jansen has been the standout performer as he has scalped 17 wickets in eight matches at an average of 24.41.
Speaking of Afghanistan, they also delivered shockwaves in the cricket world owing to their brilliant performances. With four wins and as many losses, the team still stands a chance of making it to the playoffs alongside South Africa, India, and Australia.
They are expected to dish out their best performance on Friday to make a place in the top four and trounce the likes of Pakistan and New Zealand in the points table.
What has happened so far?
The South African cricket team has been on a rampage in the ODI World Cup 2023. They kickstarted the tournament with a win against Sri Lanka and followed it up with five more wins from the next six matches.
However, they might be low on confidence as the Indian team thrashed them by a massive 243 runs in their most recent match. It was a batting failure as the Proteas could score only 83 runs while chasing 327.
Just like South Africa, Afghanistan also failed to impress in their last game as they lost to Australia by three wickets. Though the team gave a good fight, Glenn Maxwell played the knock of his career to take the Kangaroos home.
The Afghans have had their best World Cup campaign so far as they defeated Pakistan, England, Sri Lanka, and the Netherlands and are still in contention for the semi-final spot.
Head to Head Record
South Africa and Afghanistan do not enjoy a rich history with each other when it comes to the One Day Internationals. The two teams have featured in only one ODI game so far and it resulted in the Proteas hammering the Afghans by nine wickets at the Sophia Gardens, Cardiff in the ICC ODI World Cup 2019.
Quinton de Kock (South Africa): South Africa’s opening batter Quinton de Kock will be the player to watch out for on Friday as South Africa will go one-on-one against Afghanistan. He has been doing a phenomenal job in the ICC ODI World Cup 2023 and is occupying the top place in the run-scoring table with a whopping 550 runs to his name in eight league matches.
Quinton has maintained an average of over 68 while also smacking a whopping four international hundreds. The batter failed to make a mark in the last game against India as he was dismissed at a poor score of only five runs. However, the odds are in the favor of the wicketkeeper-batter to deliver a stunning performance on Friday and help his team gain momentum ahead of the playoffs.
Ibrahim Zadran (Afghanistan): Ibrahim Zadran emerged as an x-factor for the Afghanistan cricket team in the ICC ODI World Cup 2023. The 21-year-old has managed to impress the who’s who of the cricket fraternity with his impressive batting performances against a handful of dominating teams. In eight games so far, Zadran has smacked 361 runs at an average of 51.57.
He was the man in form in Afghanistan’s last game against Australia as the team posted a score of 291 runs on the scoreboard in the allotted 50 overs. Opening the innings alongside Rahmanullah Gurbaz, the 21-year-old hammered 129 runs off 143 balls with the help of eight boundaries and three maximums at a strike rate of over 90. A similar performance is expected from the opening batter on Friday as his team will be playing a do-or-die match.
South Africa: Quinton de Kock (wk), Temba Bavuma ©, Reeza Hendricks, Aiden Markram, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Keshav Maharaj, Tabraiz Shamsi, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi
Afghanistan: Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi ©, Azmatullah Omarzai, Mohammad Nabi, Ikram Alikhil (wk), Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Noor Ahmad, Naveen-ul-Haq
It will be a battle to watch out for as South Africa will be taking on Afghanistan in the Friday match of the 2023 edition of the ICC ODI World Cup. Both teams are expected to give their best as they will be playing their last match before the commencement of the playoffs.
Afghanistan is likely to be low on confidence as they were hammered by Australia in a thrilling game of cricket. South Africa also suffered a humiliating defeat against India in their last match by a massive 243 runs. However, their chances of outplaying on Friday are higher as they have done comparatively better in the ODI World Cup.
Having said that, the Afghan team is likely to go all out since the game will decide their future in the marquee event.