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CWC 2019 – Afghanistan v South Africa: 5 key talking points

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Last Updated on 5 years by Charbel Coorey

CWC 2019 – Afghanistan v South Africa: 5 key talking points. AFG vs SL: 5 key talking points from their 2019 World Cup match.

Any cricket action is of premium value at this World Cup. So, the action needs to be enthralling to give fans a sense of enjoyment in what has been a rain-ravaged tournament to date.

Unfortunately, this clash didn’t deliver.

South Africa finally picked up their first win of the tournament, thrashing Afghanistan by nine wickets. There was so much optimism around Afghanistan heading into the tournament, but they have been mighty disappointing, with this the latest of a string of poor displays.

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1. Afghanistan’s self-inflicted pain

Can someone tell me what the hell is going on with Afghanistan’s team management? Yesterday’s team selection was the latest mishap in a string of very questionable decisions, which screams of internal politics getting in the way of the side’s best interests.

Actually, questionable is a kind of way of putting it. Let’s call it pathetic.

The inclusion of Asghar Afghan for ‘experience’, in the words of Gulbadin Naib, was understandable. However, that they dropped their best performing batsman – Najibullah Zadran – to cater for Asghar suggests something is just not right within the Afghanistan think tank.

This is in addition to a change of captaincy just before the World Cup. Then, the Mohammad Shahzad controversy, where he claimed he wasn’t injured and worse, finding out about being dropped from the squad via an ICC Press Release.

Afghanistan, despite an incredible rise in the last decade, weren’t expected to get to the Semi Finals. But what they were expected to do was compete, and even avoid finishing last ahead of strugglers Sri Lanka. Instead, Afghanistan have hurt their chances through self-infliction, which suggests unrest within the squad. Can someone find any logical reason why it was Najibullah, who has two half centuries in three innings, who was left out?

If this sort of rubbish continues, Afghanistan will only regress from here onwards.

CWC 2019 - Afghanistan v South Africa: 5 key talking points. AFG vs SL: 5 key talking points from their 2019 World Cup match.
Afghanistan v South Africa: 5 key talking points – Asghar Afghan had a shocker.

2. Where to for South Africa from here?

South Africa finally got a win on the board. They were given a helping hand by Afghanistan, but they did what they had to do, also giving their NRR a boost.

Next up is a huge game against New Zealand. The Proteas and the Black Caps were arguably the two teams best equipped to make the final Semi Finals spot with main contenders England, Australia and India. Should South Africa win that game on Wednesday, they will sit just two points behind the Black Caps, albeit with an extra game played.

South Africa need to believe their hopes of a Semi Finals appearance aren’t over yet.

CWC 2019 - Afghanistan v South Africa: 5 key talking points. AFG vs SL: 5 key talking points from their 2019 World Cup match.
Photo by Adam Davy/PA Images via Getty Images. Afghanistan v South Africa: 5 key talking points – South Africa have an opening.

3. Hashim Amla spends some time at the crease

Sure, the target was low and opposition helpless, but Hashim Amla’s time at the crease was valuable for he and South Africa.

It was scratchy at times, but a 44* could be the confidence booster he needs ahead of some big games. It is certainly far-fetched to say he is back in form given the match situation, but it remains to be seen how this knock has helped Hashim Amla’s quest for a really significant innings.

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4. Imran Tahir: not in the syllabus

Seamers have had it better in Cardiff in the past four years. Pace bowlers average 30.9 at Sophia Gardens since 2015, compared to 42.2 for spinners. So, attention was on Kagiso Rabada, Beuran Hendricks and the two pace bowling all-rounders in terms of what damage they can cause to Afghanistan’s brittle batting lineup.

However, it was Imran Tahir who caused the most damage. His 4/29 in seven overs lit up Cardiff thanks to his celebrations, providing the greatest bit of excitement on a sombre day. He wasn’t in the syllabus for Afghanistan, and it showed, with a number of soft dismissals including Asghar Afghan’s awful chip straight back to him.

CWC 2019 - Afghanistan v South Africa: 5 key talking points. AFG vs SL: 5 key talking points from their 2019 World Cup match.
Reuters. Afghanistan v South Africa: 5 key talking points – Imran Tahir was on-song.

5. Afghanistan’s experienced batsmen not stepping up

Rahmat Shah, rightly praised after his effort against Australia, has not stepped up since. Hashmatullah Shahidi is another who was expected to hold things together, but has not been the case. Add Mohammad Nabi to the list.

With Hazratullah Zazai looking only a T20 player (he is yet to play 50 balls in an ODI innings in 12 attempts), Afghanistan need their experienced men to show a little more. For the second game running, they enjoyed a pretty good powerplay, only to be dismantled in the middle overs with a little platform set.

It doesn’t get easier with England next, but Afghanistan’s batsmen need to do their best to give their fans reason to smile.

Thanks for reading!

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Charbel Coorey
Charbel Cooreyhttps://cricblog.net
Charbel is the owner & founder of cricblog.net, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. He is also a keen fantasy sports player. Charbel has also had the privilege of interviewing cricketers on the CricBlog TV YouTube channel, including James Neesham, Rassie van der Dussen, Andrew Tye, Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat and Saurabh Netravalkar: https://www.youtube.com/@cricblogtv For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at charbelcoorey@cricblog.net.

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