A dress rehearsal is a necessity – just to give everything a final polish and shine before the big show.
And the bowlers did their part today in the Proteas’ last group match before they play Australia next week in one of the World Cup semi-finals.
Gerald Coetzee and Keshav Maharaj starred against Afghanistan in Ahmedabad, while Kagiso Rabada bowled with pace in his 100th ODI.
Then Quinton de Kock caught six batsmen behind the wickets to restrict Afghanistan to 245 runs in 50 overs.
However, Lungi Ngidi will have to pull up his socks: He was hopelessly too predictable and a brilliant Azmatullah Omarzai easily scored runs from his bowling.
The showdown also offers the Proteas a golden opportunity to work on their target chasing skills.
The South Africans lost two matches in India and in both matches they batted last.
They did show against Pakistan that they can pull the wagon through the drift when they ended a nail-biting battle with one wicket.
At the same time, it will also be nice if Temba Bavuma – who has struggled with his mobility in the field – can catch fire at the right time in the tournament: The Protea captain has only been able to score 165 runs in his six innings at an average of 20.33 recorded.
Be forewarned though: Afghanistan would have, for all practical purposes, settled with Australia had it not been for Glenn Maxwell’s heroics.
The Aussies – in reply to Afghanistan’s 291/5 – faltered with their score at 91/7 before Maxwell single-handedly pulled the chestnuts out of the fire with his double century.
- Summary of the scorecard:
Afghanistan 244/10 in 50 overs: Azmatullah Omarzai 97*, Gerald Coetzee 4/44 and Keshav Maharaj 2/25.
South Africa: Quinton de Kock, Temba Bavuma (captain), Rassie van der Dussen, Aiden Markram, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Gerald Coetzee, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi.
Afghanistan: Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi (captain), Azmatullah Omarzai, Ikram Alikhil, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Ur Rahman, Noor Ahmad and Naveen-ul-Haq.