Proteas survive scare to beat Afghanistan

South Africa fans experienced a bad case of deja vu on Sunday as the Proteas scored 200-plus runs and watched as the opposition, Afghanistan this time, smashed the bowlers, but this time they were able to defend it and win by 37 runs.

As was the case against England, South Africa’s batsmen enjoyed some big hits as they recorded 200 or more for the second game in a row. Their 209 for five was thanks to a blitz knock of 62 by AB de Villiers.

Afghanistan then did what England had done at the start, and scored piled of runs in the power play overs, but the Proteas were able to pull it back this time and the Afghans made 172 all out.

The Proteas won the toss and opted to bat at the Wankhede Stadium, a ground that has seen more than 50 sixes struck in just three matches in this tournament. Quinton de Kock added to that, hitting two in his 45.

Hashim Amla was the only real failure for the Proteas, out for five to Shapoor Zadran. Otherwise, all the Proteas reached double figures, with De Villiers 62 the highlights, followed by QdK’s 45 and Faf du Plessis’ 41.

Afghanistan’s chase started off brilliantly as the Proteas seemed dull and uninspired in the field, and even when they took wickets later in the innings, celebrations were muted and negative.

Ahmed Shahzad was the star at the start hitting his first 42 runs with boundaries alone. The SA pacemen were carted around the ground, before Shahzad fell for 44 in the fourth over, having faced 19 balls.

The perilous situation continued as Noor Ali Zadran and Gulbadin Naib took the score past 100 in the 10th over. But they both fell within a few deliveries of each other, as Chris Morris and Imran Tahir stemmed the flow of runs.

Morris ended with four wickets for 27 runs, while Tahir took two for 24. The wickets tumbled near the end, as order was restored, but SA fans and players alike would have been relieved rather than pleased with the result.

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