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T20 World Cup 2024, AFG vs SA 1st Semi-Final Match Report, June 26, 2024

South Africa 60 for 1 (Hendricks 29*, Farooqi 1-11) beat Afghanistan 56 (Omarzai 10, Shamsi 3-6, Jansen 3-16) with nine wickets

South Africa’s quick battle destroyed Afghanistan’s top position, taking five wickets in the first five overs, propelling the opposition towards their eventual 56 all out in the first semi-final of the 2024 T20 World Cup.
Although they lost Quinton de Kock early on, Aiden Markram and Reeza Hendricks then calmly navigated the tight chase on an extremely tricky Tarouba pitch.

For a team notorious for playing nervy cricket in the knockouts, this win was dominant and clinical. South Africa left virtually nothing to chance. They bowled beautifully, fielded well and endured some difficult early overs as they pounced on the loose balls.

In return, they will receive a place in a men’s World Cup final for the first time, continuing their unbeaten run in the tournament, which now consists of eight matches. The margin of victory, by nine wickets and with 67 balls to spare, underlined the control they exerted throughout this match, from start to finish.

Jansen and Rabada tear out the top order

The Tarouba surface offered not only lateral movement but also plenty of bounce early on. With the heights that Marco Jansen and Kagiso Rabada bring, South Africa had a great attack to exploit the conditions.
Jansen struck at the end of the first over to remove the Afghan batsman of the tournament – Rahmanullah Gurbaz – who edged a ball across him to Hendricks at slip. In his next over, Jansen Gulbadin bowled Naib through the gate with a delivery that shot back into him.

Rabada’s first raid truly sent Afghanistan into a nosedive. He tapped two balls back and hit wood on both occasions. The ball that hit the top of Ibrahim Zadran’s middle stump was the killer. Ibrahim was Afghanistan’s best hope at the time to get a good score. On the fourth ball, he took out Mohammad Nabi’s stump with an even more stunning delivery. That was a double-wicket girl.

Nortje and Shamsi do the rest

With the top five gone and their middle order having failed to produce much throughout the tournament, Afghanistan found themselves struggling. Anrich Nortje and Tabraiz Shamsi closed the innings from there. Nortje had Azmatullah Omarzai (the only Afghan batter to reach double figures) caught at deep point, and later knocked Rashid Khan off stump.

Shamsi threw a leg-stub line to the right-handers and kept getting them lbw as the balls rushed towards them. They reviewed all three decisions, but the on-field referees had given them out, and the referees’ decisions on impact were good enough.

Farooqi and Naveen cannot destroy South Africa’s top order

In this match, Fazalhaq Farooqi and Naveen-ul-Haq had 29 wickets between them. Their only chance to defend such a paltry score was to run through the top order together.
Farooqi increased his tournament-high wicket tally in his first over, giving De Kock some big outswingers before poking another one in and making a mess of his stumps.

And Naveen should have had Markram the next over, but most of the Afghan players hadn’t heard the wicketkeeper’s weak side and Rashid wasn’t confident enough to review the decision.

Markram and Hendricks give chase

There were still testing moments, while the field continued to play up and still often remained low. But whenever Afghanistan threw bad pitches, South Africa’s batters struck. The fifth over itself yielded 13 runs – over a fifth of the target. South Africa came home in the ninth over, leading to subdued celebrations even though this was a historic win for them.