South Africa defeated Afghanistan by five wickets in their last World Cup group game to maintain second position in the rankings. The Proteas have 14 points from nine games, which puts them two points ahead of Australia, who plays Bangladesh on Saturday. South Africa and Australia are both certain to advance and will meet in a semi-final on Thursday.
Afghanistan finished its strongest World Cup campaign ever, winning four games and securing a spot in the 2025 Champions Trophy.
Hashmatullah Shahidi, the Afghan captain, won the toss and opted to bat first. Keshav Maharaj, on the other hand, slowed things down after the first ten overs. He made the breakthrough when he dismissed Rahmanullah Gurbaz with his first ball. Gerald Coetzee then sent back Ibrahim Zadran, who had hit a century in Afghanistan’s previous encounter, and Maharaj took the wicket of Shahidi. Afghanistan continued to collapse, but Rashid Khan stood tall with Azmatullah Omarzai, who struck a half-century. Rashid broke the tenacious stand by nicking behind the wickets from Andile Phehlukwayo. Omarzai kept the tail going and propelled Afghanistan to a score of 244. However, he fell short of a well-deserved century, finishing undefeated on 97 off 107.
Quinton de Kock responded with a breezy 41 that sent him to the top of the World Cup scoring statistics with 591 runs. Rassie van der Dussen (76 not out) then led the Proteas home, putting on a 65-run stand with Andile Phehlukwayo, who smashed the winning runs in the 48th over with a stunning six over deep midwicket. The Proteas were given an early push by De Kock (41) and Bavuma (23) before Van van Dussen hit an unbeaten 76 off 95 balls to take the team home.
South Africa: Quinton de Kock (wk), Temba Bavuma (c), Rassie van der Dussen, Aiden Markram, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Gerald Coetzee, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi
Afghanistan: Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi (c), Azmatullah Omarzai, Ikram Alikhil (wk), Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Noor Ahmad, Naveen-ul-Haq
Temba Bavuma, South Africa captain: “Obviously my leg is sore. Don’t know to what extent but it is going to have to be fine, at least in my eyes. I obviously had that option of coming off but it was our last group stage game, and I wanted to be out there with the guys. Was an opportunity to spend some time in the middle and I did not want to let it go. Wanted to keep marshalling the guys, keep strengthening the relationship with our bowlers. It was a risk but I felt it was the right move. Winning is a habit, so, we want to take that momentum through. Today we did a few things different. We batted second today. To get over the line in that manner, that is going to give us a lot of confidence. Fantastic knock by Rassie, he took ownership and the guys batted around him. Not really. The wicket got better. When Keshav came back for his second spell, it was not gripping and spinning as much. Gerald also came in and took wickets, always a huge plus. We can always pick on the different phases and we can think of things to improve, but we will take the win. Yeah, definitely. We would want to play here again, in front of a full capacity crowd, and it will be a different experience playing in front of a hundred thousand fans. Before that, we have Australia. We will enjoy today and from tomorrow, we will start training our minds for that clash.”
Hashmatullah Shahidi, Afghanistan captain: “As a captain, I am quite happy with our performances. We fought till the last moment in each and every game. We had good matches and had some good learnings for the future too. Proud of the way our batters performed in this tournament. We were struggling before the World Cup. So, we sat together and talked about our weaknesses. In the end, you saw how our batters did and it is a positive sign for the future. Everyone knows we have good spinners. If we go with the same momentum that we had in the batting department this World Cup, we will do well. We gave a good message to the world. We played big teams and we fought till the last moment, even if we lost. Even the Australia game was in our hand but it was shocking the way Maxwell batted. I was very shocked, but there were lots of learnings too.”
Rassie van der Dussen, Player of the Match: “We were happy with bowling first, we would have chased anyway. They have a quality bowling attack and we wanted to put ourselves in a tough situation. Maybe one or two things we can tweak, but happy with how the run-chase went. In any chase, there has to be someone who plays an anchor role. The openers set things up nicely. We know what our batting line-up can do. Had some good partnerships in the middle and happy to get across the finish line. Sometimes, when you do one thing so well, and the other part is not so good, people say you are doing it badly. We are probably 50-50 when chasing and we would like to improve that, of course. Going into the semi-final, this is what we wanted to do and it worked out well. Kolkata was a lot drier and lower. Having played there, we know what to expect. Hopefully if we get back here, it will presumably play pretty similar.”