Cricket World Cup: South Africa vs Afghanistan
Venue: Sophia Gardens, Cardiff
Date: Saturday 15th June 2019
Faf du Plessis’s South Africa side will be looking to keep their 2019 Cricket World Cup hopes alive when they face fellow strugglers Afghanistan in Cardiff. The Proteas are winless in their opening four games, with their only point coming last time out in a washed out game against the West Indies. As they approach the halfway stage in their campaign, they know that they must win all of their 5 remaining fixtures and hope that results between other sides go their way as they attempt to sneak in to the top 4. Afghanistan meanwhile have shown glimpses of their ability without picking up the results and they sit bottom of the table following defeats to Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Australia.
The lack of batting prowess looked to be troubling South Africa once more against the West Indies as they were reduced to 29/2 before the rain assisted their cause. They have only passed 300 with the bat once so far in the competition and are failing to put teams under any sort of scoreboard pressure. The positions of Hashim Amla and Aiden Markram at the top of the order look to be the key areas for improvement. The bowling department will have enjoyed a week’s rest and the likes of Chirs Morris and Kagiso Rabada should be fit and raring to go here.
Afghanistan have performed admirably so far during this World Cup and they will be desperate to claim a scalp as they look to underline the quality of cricket within the associate nations. They failed to put big scores on the board against both New Zealand and Australia and see bowling as very much their strong suit with the likes of Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi more than capable of troubling any of the world’s best batsmen.
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Neither side has managed to assert themselves on the opposition with the bat thus far in this World Cup nor as yet, there hasn’t been a centurion in either team. Sophia Gardens will play very true for the batsmen but with both sides low on confidence, scores could be relatively small here.
With 68 in his first game against England and promising starts since, Quinton de Kock has been one of South Africa’s most consistent performers and he’ll be keen to make a big contribution here.
Having enjoyed a week’s rest, Kagiso Rabada will be firing on all cylinders for the Proteas and his extra pace will cause major problems for the relatively inexperienced Afghanistan batting line up.
Despite no real form to speak of so far at this World Cup, Rahmat Shah is one of Afghanistan’s most experienced campaigners and he will be eager to show the world what he can do, on the biggest stage of all.
Few bowlers in the world have the mystery and intrigue that surrounds Rashid Khan and whilst he too has had a slow start in this Cricket World Cup, he will enjoy the spin friendly conditions at Sophia Gardens.
The importance of this match will not be lost on either side and whilst South Africa are a side very low on confidence, they will be keen to make amends here and with much needed changes to their side sure to happen – they should get past Afghanistan in an edgy encounter.
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