Cricket World Cup: South Africa’s win against Afghanistan revives hope for semis

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South Africa on Saturday registered their first win at the 2019 Men’s Cricket World Cup, beating Afghanistan by nine wickets.

The match at the Cardiff Wales Stadium offered the Proteas a last chance to salvage their chances at the tournament that they have never won.

Leg-spinner Imran Tahir took 4-29, engineering an Afghani collapse after a 75-minute rain break as they were dismissed for 125. Chris Morris contributed with figures of 3-13 and Andile Phehlukwayo took two wickets.

So South Africa almost need to win every game they will play.

The South Africans set about chasing a slightly adjusted target of 127 from 48 overs in cautious fashion, reaching 131-1 with 19 overs to spare.

After their poor start to the tournament, South Africa effectively need to win their remaining four matches, starting with New Zealand in Birmingham on Wednesday, to make the last four.

South Africa gets 1st point

Raain gifted South Africa their first point at the World Cup as the game against West Indies was washed out, and both teams awarded a point.

The Proteas have struggled to impress in the four matches they have so far played, losing against England, Bangladesh and India.

South Africa vs India

South Africa slumped to a third straight loss at the Cricket World Cup, falling to India by six wickets on Wednesday.

Wily Indian wrist-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal took four wickets as one of the pre-tournament favourites got their Cricket World Cup campaign off to a confident start by restricting South Africa to 227 for nine at a vibrant Rose Bowl.

Chasing South Africa’s 227-9, India lost opener Shikhar Dhawan for eight and then batting mainstay Kohli for 18 with the score on 54-2 at the Rose bowl in Southampton.

Opener Rohit, however, ensured the victory ended up being a comfortable one with an unbeaten 122 as India reached their target with six wickets in hand and 15 balls to spare.

The innings mirrored South Africa’s World Cup campaign to date as their batsmen struggled to find form or fluency on wickets that were good for striking. They have lost their opening two matches to England and Bangladesh, while India were playing their first game.

Bangladesh upsets South Africa

South Africa suffered its second successive defeat at the 2019 Cricket World Cup, losing by 21 runs to Bangladesh.

Bangladesh piled up their highest one-day International total, underlining their reputation as dangerous outsiders at the tournament.

Mushfiqur and Shakib added 142 runs for the third wicket to notch up Bangladesh’s highest World Cup partnership in an aggressive batting display backed by enthusiastic support.

That meant South Africa needed to pull off the highest run chase in World Cup history, but they ended on 309 for eight and with their next game against India on Wednesday, their chances of making the semi-finals are already under threat.

The country’s former all-rounder Jacques Kallis said the Proteas cannot afford any more mistakes at the World Cup and will need to win almost all their remaining seven games if they hope to qualify for the semi-finals.

“I think you’ll need six wins, maybe five with a really good run rate, to finish in the top four,” Kallis said in a column for the International Cricket Council.

“So South Africa almost need to win every game they will play. There will be no margin for error.

The top four teams from the new round-robin format qualify for the semi-finals and defeat against India on Wednesday could also potentially affect South Africa’s net run rate, which will decide the final standings if teams are tied on points and wins.

Loss to England

Africa’s sole representatives at the 2019 Cricket World Cup, South Africa got off to a losing start against hosts England in the first game of the six-week tournament.

Ben Stokes top-scored with 89 as the hosts made a competitive total of 311 for eight after being sent into bat.

Jofra Archer took two early wickets and South Africa never looked likely to reach their target, bowled out in the 40th over for 207 to give World Cup favourites England the perfect start.

The Duke of Sussex addressed the crowd at The Oval, saying: “Cities will come alive across the next six weeks as World Cup fever sweeps the nation once more…I am now honoured to declare the men’s World Cup of 2019 open.”

South Africa, who have never won the 50-over tournament arrived for the latest edition with high hopes. The Proteas have lost in the semi-finals four times, and are ranked third, behind India.

“We were outplayed in all three departments. Jofra Archer took two wickets up front and Hashim Amla (injured) as well, so it was basically three down,” South Africa’s Du Plessis said.

“I thought 300 was par but there were some really good batting performances from England.”