by: Atika Mehboob TN Sport Pakistan:
In a crucial league-stage clash of the 2023 ODI World Cup, Rassie van der Dussen and Andile Phehlukwayo played pivotal roles in securing a hard-fought five-wicket victory for South Africa against Afghanistan. The win sets the stage for their semi-final showdown against Australia.
Afghanistan posted a competitive total of 244, with Gerald Coetzee (4-44) and Keshav Maharaj (2-25) leading the South African bowling attack. Azmatullah Omarzai’s unbeaten 97 anchored Afghanistan’s innings, preventing a collapse.
South Africa faced a challenging chase, with Phehlukwayo joining the fray at 63 runs needed and Afghanistan’s spinners holding momentum. Phehlukwayo’s unbeaten 39, including crucial boundaries, and van der Dussen’s composed 76 not out guided South Africa to victory.
Despite Afghanistan’s valiant bowling effort, led by Rashid Khan (2-37), South Africa’s middle-order resilience ensured they reached the target. Van der Dussen, awarded Player of the Match, showcased his form with his fourth fifty-plus score of the World Cup.
Earlier, Afghanistan’s decision to bat first saw them lose wickets early, courtesy of Coetzee and Maharaj. Omarzai’s steadfast innings and partnerships with Rashid and Noor Ahmad propelled Afghanistan to a defendable total.
Afghanistan’s World Cup campaign concludes on a positive note, securing a sixth-place finish and a spot in the 2025 Champions Trophy. South Africa advances to a semi-final rematch with Australia, aiming for a place in the final on November 19 in Ahmedabad.