As far as momentum for the play-offs is concerned, the Proteas hit a huge speed bump against India.
Defeat in the World Cup group stage – especially when you have actually already qualified for the semi-final – is certainly not the end of the world. But it was really not fun to see how the South Africans were bowled out for 83 runs.
Now a final group game against Afghanistan offers a welcome opportunity to get back on the momentum train in time.
After all, the semi-final against Australia is just around the corner.
Yet Afghanistan is anything but cannon fodder. They boast of stars such as Rashid Khan and Ibrahim Zadran in their ranks, while for all practical purposes they would have settled with the Aussies in their previous match, if not for Glenn Maxwell’s heroics.
In addition, they have also already played England, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in India.
“It is very nice to watch Afghanistan’s progress in the World Cup tournament,” said South Africa’s David Miller.
According to the hot-claw batsman, Afghanistan are playing with confidence and they have proved beyond doubt that they belong on the big stage.
“They have already caught the attention of a few of the bigger teams, while their spinners and batsmen know exactly what is expected of them.”
Still, Miller already has one eye on next week’s semi-final against Australia and he warned his team-mates against Maxwell’s possible attack.
The 35-year-old Australian sealed the match for his team against Afghanistan with his brilliant innings of 201 unbeaten runs.
It was a remarkable achievement – especially when you consider that he later struggled with cramps and spasms and the Aussies were knee-deep in trouble with their score at 91/7.
“Glenn is a player who has the X factor and he is a match winner. It was inspiring to see him hit one boundary after another while barely being able to stay upright.”
The South Africans did reign supreme against the Aussies in the group stage when they won the match by 134 runs in Lucknow.
The match starts at 10:30 on Friday and the action will be broadcast live on SuperSport.