ICC World Cup 2019: Match 21, South Africa vs Afghanistan, Preview – Both sides desperate for first win but rain threat looms around

ICC World Cup 2019: Match 21, South Africa vs Afghanistan, Preview – Both sides desperate for first win but rain threat looms around

This is a make or break situation for both sides, especially South Africa, who don't wish to give up on their hopes to qualify for the semifinals.

Faf du Plessis
Faf du Plessis. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

Playing South Africa in a bilateral series and in an ICC tournament have become two different things in the last two decades and the Proteas only have themselves to blame. They were given so many names which mocked their status and their performance in the 2019 World Cup has not helped in this prospect. They have one solitary point in their tally which came via a washout.

Although no one expected Afghanistan to do wonders this tournament, people expected them to push the top sides very hard to get their results. It hasn’t been the case so far as they ended up losing all three games they played and their morale doesn’t appear to be very high. Although their Saturday’s opponents are not on a good run, it makes their job no easy.

This is a make or break situation for both sides, especially South Africa, who don’t wish to give up on their hopes to qualify for the semifinals. They don’t look completely in control of their fate right now, but some good performances from here could always bring them into the picture.

Playing Combinations

South Africa

One of the finest batsmen of this generation, Hashim Amla struggling for runs this way is a painful sight for many cricket lovers. Rassie van der Dussen and Faf du Plessis have been impressive with the willow and they have some good all-rounders in Morris and Phehlukwayo. Lungi Ngidi is perhaps going to sit for another game, giving Beuran Hendricks his first shot at the dice. Imran Tahir will be the only spinner in a four-man pace attack.

Predicted XI

Quinton de Kock (wk), Hashim Amla, Aiden Markram, Faf du Plessis (C), Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada, Imran Tahir, Beuran Hendricks.

Afghanistan

They have a line-up that bats deep but no one scores runs swiftly enough for the English standards. Hazratullah Zazai and Rahmat Shah will hold the key to score runs quickly as the likes of Noor Ali Zadran and Hashmatullah Shahidi can only play the second fiddles. Rashid Khan‘s performance could determine their fate and Mujeeb Ur Rahman will have to sit out again. Hamid Hasan, Aftab Alam, Hamid Hassan and Gulbadin Naib will be the fast bowling options.

Predicted XI

Hazratullah Zazai, Noor Ali Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Gulbadin Naib (C), Mohammad Nabi, Najibullah Zadran, Ikram Ali Khil (WK), Rashid Khan, Aftab Alam, Hamid Hassan.

Focus will be on

Aiden Markram (South Africa)

A fine young talent who previously led South Africa to U19 World Cup glory, Aiden Markram has been shining bright in his early days in International cricket. The 24-year-old is taking great strides but has found it very difficult to get going in this World Cup. He got out playing some poor shots thus and will be keen to improve his decision making in this regard.

Rashid Khan (Afghanistan)

Darker the adversity, more you need your big players to step up and all of Afghanistan is currently staring at Rashid Khan with great hope. In the various T20 tournaments he has played, he always managed to bounce his way out of problems. But this is perhaps the worst he has faced and this is one great opportunity for the superstar to become a legend.

Head to Head

(This is their first meeting in ODIs)

Stat Attack

65 – Hashim Amla needs 65 runs to complete 8,000 runs in this format.

Broadcast Details

TV – Star Sports

Live Streaming – Hotstar

Match Timings – 18:00 IST; 13:30 local