Proteas aim to bounce back against Afghanistan

South Africa’s batsmen are in top form, and if they can summon even some of that spunk they displayed against England, then Afghanistan can bid its chances goodbye.

South Africa beat Afghanistan by 59 runs the last time the two teams met.   -  Getty Images

For a moment, imagine that you are a member of the South Africa team. It’s been barely 24 hours since you put up a gargantuan score on the board. And, it’s been around the same time since the cruel side of the game popped up in your face to remind you that no total is a safe total. How exactly does 229 for four not get you over the line? How can you possibly not defend such a tally with an attack comprising the best fast bowler of his generation?

Somehow, just somehow, South Africa will have to lift its collective spirit and start afresh when it takes on Afghanistan in a Super 10s Group 1 clash at the Wankhede here on Sunday afternoon. Lest we forget, it’s a must-win game for the perennial chokers of world cricket. They just can’t afford another slip-up.

Funnily enough, South Africa finds itself in the same position England was after experiencing a Chris Gayle-shaped nightmare on Wednesday night. England overcame that disappointment in some style two days later. And, now, it’s South Africa’s turn to turn over a new leaf.

Up against the Proteas will be a team led by the mercurial Asghar Stanikzai and coached by the legendary Inzamam-ul-Haq, which has come a long way. For a side that’s already done its bit by winning all its games in the qualifying round, upsetting the proverbial apple cart will be the top priority.

South Africa’s batsmen are in top form, and if they can summon even some of that spunk they displayed against England, then Afghanistan can bid its chances goodbye. A 3 pm start means dew will not be a factor. The Proteas may be itching to give left-arm spinner Aaron Phangiso, or one of the other seamers (Rilee Rossouw/David Wiese), a look-in. Well, someone from the attack which couldn’t defend 229 has to pay. Who will it be?



THE SQUADS

Afghanistan: Asghar Stanikzai (Captain), Amir Hamza, Dawlat Zadran, Gulbadin Naib, Hamid Hassan, Karim Sadiq, Mohammad Nabi, Mohammad Shahzad (Wicketkeeper), Najibullah Zadran, Noor Ali Zadran, Rashid Khan, Samiullah Shenwari, Shafiqullah, Shapoor Zadran, Usman Ghani.

South Africa: Faf du Plessis (Captain), Kyle Abbott, Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock (Wicketkeeper), AB de Villiers, Jean-Paul Duminy, Imran Tahir, David Miller, Chris Morris, Aaron Phangiso, Kagiso Rabada, Rilee Rossouw, Dale Steyn, David Wiese.



RECORD IN T20 INTERNATIONALS

Afghanistan - Played: 45, Won: 28, Lost: 17

South Africa - Played: 88, Won: 52, Lost: 35, NR: 1



HEAD-TO-HEAD RECORD

Played: 1, Afghanistan: 0, South Africa: 1



PITCH AND WEATHER

The game will be played on the pitch used for the England-West Indies game on Wednesday. In other words, it is full of runs. Given that it’s a 3 pm start, expect the sun to be at its harshest. The temperature will be around 35 degrees Celsius, but it will feel hotter.