Afghanistan vs. South Africa
|Date & Time||Saturday June 15, 2019, 8:30 AM (EDT)|
South Africa 1.12 Afghanistan 6.00
|TV Channel||Stream live sports and ESPN originals on-demand on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
South Africa will face Afghanistan in Wales on Saturday with both teams desperately in need of a win to keep their semi-final hopes alive. South Africa are expected to beat Afghanistan but their dismal start to the tournament has seen them lose three of their opening four matches.
Afghanistan are the only team that are yet to pick up a single World Cup point. Their record of three losses from three matches suggests they won’t be competing for a top four spot this year. The one point that South Africa have to their name is down to their match against the West Indies being abandoned due to rain.
Afghanistan’s wicket-keeper and opening batsman Mohammad Shahzad has been ruled out for the rest of the World Cup with a knee injury. He is one of the country’s star players and if Afghanistan were struggling before, they now stand an even slimmer chance of making the semi-finals.
Afghanistan’s bowling has been good but their batsmen have really let them down. Mohammad Nabi has been the pick of their bowlers and picked up figures of 4/30 against Sri Lanka. Rashid Khan has also impressed and Afghanistan will need both of these men to be on top form if they are to get anything from the match against South Africa.
Afghanistan’s highest score so far in the tournament came in their opening match against Australia where they managed to reach 207. They have since posted totals of 152 against Sri Lanka and 172 against New Zealand and if they continue like this, they may well finish bottom of the group.
South Africa have massively underachieved at this year’s World Cup. Many people would have had them down as possible candidates to win the tournament before it began but they have failed to win any of their opening four matches. They have been below par in every aspect of the game and are now in danger of not making the semi-finals.
Quinton de Kock has probably been their most reliable player but the performances of senior players such as Faf du Plessis and JP Duminy have been substandard at best. When your team is in trouble, you rely on the experienced heads in your team to bring a sense of calm and steady the ship but such players have ultimately let them down.
South Africa have some promising young bowlers in their squad that must step up in the remainder of the tournament. Lungi Ngidi, Kasigo Rabada and Andile Phehlukwayo have all shown glimpses of what they can do but they must all come together as a squad against Afghanistan to put themselves in contention for a semi-final spot.
It can’t get any worse for South Africa, so I see them picking up their first win of the tournament on Saturday. It’s now or never for the Proteas and this match against bottom of the table Afghanistan is the perfect opportunity for them to kick to start their campaign.