Big picture: Bowling intelligence vs. bat strength
Afghanistan came dangerously close to winning their most significant ODI match. Opposing Australia. in an attempt to reach the World Cup semifinals. Nearly there. Before a meteor the size of Glenn Maxwell flattened them.
They are currently in Ahmedabad for their last league match before being eliminated from the World Cup in the biggest cricket venue on the planet. Afghanistan has defeated three past champions this time, including England, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan, in addition to the Netherlands. However, they will never be able to defeat South Africa by 438 runs in order to move New Zealand out of fourth place on net run rate. Afghanistan has only ever defeated Scotland once in 2015 and 2019. But a ten-point exit—ten more than the fourth-place team—will be a huge victory in and of itself.
Afghanistan has only faced South Africa in one ODI and two T20I matches, and they have never prevailed. But that was Afghanistan in the past. As a team, Afghanistan’s performance in the 2023 World Cup was outstanding. In the competition, all five of their best hitters have scored more than 250 runs. It’s not the regular culprits in the bowling department causing the damage. Although Rashid Khan is currently Afghanistan’s top wicket-taker, he hasn’t always been reliable. However, players like Noor Ahmad, Fazalhaq Farooqi, and Naveen-ul-Haq have all been among the wickets, while Mujeeb Ur Rahman has only seven in eight games.
Regarding South Africa, their semi-final berth is already guaranteed, thus this matchup presents a pressure-free chance for them to bounce back after India’s crushing of them in Kolkata. David Miller did not think South Africa had been “horrific chasing” following that 243-run thumping, but it is a known fact that they have been far more successful this year batting first than second in ODIs.
The outcome ultimately will probably depend on how Afghanistan’s bowlers perform against South Africa’s formidable batting lineup. The only two teams remaining in the World Cup without giving up 300 are Afghanistan and India. Five times, South Africa has scored more over 300, with their maximum being against Sri Lanka at 428. Is Afghanistan capable of holding South Africa within its borders?
Ibrahim Zadran and Marco Jansen are highlighted
Afghanistan’s highest scorer right now, Ibrahim Zadran, scored their first World Cup century against Australia in their previous match. The opener’s approach to the South Africa quicks will be critical because he averages 57.5 against fast bowlers in the competition. Ibrahim’s ODI career has gotten off to a fantastic start. With just 27 ODI matches under his belt, he now holds the second-most century record for Afghanistan. He will tie Mohammad Shahzad with a sixth.
Against India, Marco Jansen had one of his rare poor days as he was dismissed for 94 runs in 9.4 overs and did not have much success with the bat. After an incredible World Cup run, he will be eager to demonstrate his capacity to recover. With seventeen wickets throughout the competition, Jansen is in third place. However, his bowling during the powerplay has been particularly impressive, as he has taken 12 wickets in eight innings, more than any other bowler in the competition. Not to be overlooked is his batting at 111.34 when he bats later in the order. Jansen is going to want to get back to his winning ways after a lackluster performance at Eden Gardens.
Team update: Will Phehlukwayo play in a game?
Afghanistan may bring back Farooqi for either Mujeeb or Noor, depending on the Ahmedabad pitch. It’s unlikely that the remainder of their playing XI will alter.
Potential candidates from Afghanistan are: 1 Rahmanullah Gurbaz; 2 Ibrahim Zadran; 3 Rahmat Shah; 4 Hashmatullah Shahidi (captain); 5 Azmatullah Omarzai. 6 Rashid Khan, 7 Ikram Alikhil (wk), and 8 Mohammed Nabi Naveen-ul-Haq, Noor Ahmad, Mujeeb Ur Rahman/Fazalhaq Farooqi, and Noor eight
Against India, Lungi Ngidi walked off two balls into his ninth over, unable to finish his ten overs. Even though he was deemed fit to bat later in the match, South Africa may choose to rest him or Kagiso Rabada, starting Andile Phehlukwayo in his debut. Gerald Coetzee, a quick bowler, might also replace Tazbraiz Shamsi.
1 Quinton de Kock (wk), 2 Temba Bavuma (capt), 3 Rassie van der Dussen, 4 Aiden Markram, South Africa (probably) 5 Karl Ludwig Klaasen Sixth David Miller, Seventh Marco Jansen, Eighth Keshav Maharaj, Ninth Kagiso Rabada, Tenth Lungi Ngidi/Andile Phehlukwayo, Eleventh Tabraiz Shamsi/Gerald Coetzee/
Pitch and circumstances
No side has been able to score more than 300 in the World Cup, so Ahmedabad hasn’t had very big totals thus far. The way the surface plays will depend on the type of soil. When the game begins, the temperature is predicted to be about 36 degrees, and it will drop in the evening. Rain is unlikely, if it occurs at all.