THE TIMES OF INDIA | Nov 10, 2023, 13:30:39 IST
AFG vs SA World Cup 2023 Live Updates: South Africa will look to fix their chasing troubles before the semifinals while Afghanistan will back themselves to beat another top team when the two sides meet in a World Cup game in Ahmedabad on Friday.
A lot more is at stake for Afghanistan than South Africa, who have already made the semifinals alongside India and Australia.
With eight points each, Afghanistan are battling for the fourth spot with Pakistan and New Zealand. Only a win over the Proteas will keep them in the hunt.
The Afghans also have an inferior net run rate compared to Pakistan and New Zealand, therefore, they need to win big and hope the other results go their way.
Irrespective of the result on Friday, Afghanistan have earned tremendous respect with their mature play in the tournament, having racked up four wins from eight games.
They now have the belief to beat the best in the business on any given day. After humbling England and Pakistan, the Hasmatullah Shahidi-led side was on the cusp of a famous win over five-time champions Australia before Glenn Maxwell came up with a superhuman knock.
The improbable defeat left Afghans heartbroken and they now need to pick themselves up to give their best shot at a semifinal berth.
Batting first, South Africa have been the best batting unit in the tournament. Therefore, Shahidi will be hoping to win the toss, put runs on the board and choke South Africa in their chase.
South Africa’s flamboyance has made way for tentativeness while chasing in the competition. Afghanistan’s match-winning spinners will back themselves to exploit that apparent weakness.
Spin has been the team’s strength over the years but now it can also expect breakthroughs from the pacers. With a little help on offer, Naveen Ul Haq and all-rounder Azmatullah Omarzai delivered with the new ball against Australia to rattle the opposition.
Afghanistan batting, which has been its weak link, has come of age in the tournament. Batters like Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah and captain Shahidi himself know how to play the situations, while batting first or chasing.
The team, however, expects more from opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz, who has not been consistent enough, and veteran Mohammd Nabi, who has not yet made an impact with the bat.