Afghanistan v SA, Group C, World T20, Barbados

South Africa target Super Eights in must-win game

The Preview by Siddhartha Talya

May 4, 2010

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Match Facts

Wednesday, May 5, Bridgetown
Start time 1700 (2100 GMT)

The Big Picture


Dale Steyn took four to hasten Australia's defeat, South Africa v Australia, 4th ODI, Port Elizabeth, April 13, 2009
Afghanistan have never faced a bowler as quick as Dale Steyn © AFP
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Defeats against India have put Afghanistan and South Africa in sudden-death mode going into their floodlit clash in Barbados on Wednesday. Left to rue lapses in the field and a delayed surge with wickets in hand in St Lucia, South Africa now have an opportunity to set things right with a clinical performance and progress into the Super Eights.

The conditions in Bridgetown, generally supportive of fast bowling, should encourage their seam-strong attack against an opposition whose weakness against the short ball was exposed by Ashish Nehra. Afghanistan impressed in small doses, but with just two batsmen reaching double-figures in a score of 115 they had little to fight for against the Indian batting line-up.

Afghanistan's struggles off the field, and their success against the odds on it, have contributed to a general eagerness among cricket fans to see them do well. In a tougher scenario, against a determined South Africa in a must-win game, they have another chance to win hearts, and they would want to do that with a more collective effort.

Form guide (most recent first)

Afghanistan: LWLWW
South Africa: LWLLW

Watch out for...

Dale Steyn: He was the best among South Africa's bowlers against India, but didn't use the bouncer too often. Expect no sympathy against an inexperienced Afghanistan, who have not faced pace as quick as what they will tomorrow.

Shapoor Zadran: He bowled two overs for just six runs against India with good rhythm, getting the ball to move away and beating the Indian batsmen on occasion with his left-arm seamers. Containment seems to be his strength - he has an economy rate of 6.52 in Twenty20 internationals - but he'll want to improve his wickets tally of just three in seven games.

Team news

Loots Bosman struggled to get going against India, and South Africa may think of replacing him with Herschelle Gibbs at the top. Rory Kleinveldt proved expensive, conceding 40 in his last two overs; Juan Theron, with a reputation of being a good death-overs bowler, could take his place.

South Africa (possible): 1 Jacques Kallis, 2 Herschelle Gibbs/Loots Bosman, 3 Graeme Smith (capt), 4 AB de Villiers, 5 Albie Morkel, 6 JP Duminy, 7 Mark Boucher (wk), 8 Roelof van der Merwe/Johan Botha, 9 Juan Theron/Rory Kleinveldt, 10 Dale Steyn, 11 Morne Morkel.

Afghanistan: (possible) 1 Karim Sadiq, 2 Noor Ali, 3 Mohammad Shahzad (wk), 4 Nowroz Mangal (capt), 5 Asghar Stanikzai, 6 Mohammad Nabi, 7 Raees Ahmadzai, 8 Samiullah Shenwari, 9 Hamid Hassan, 10 Shapoor Zadran, 11 Dawlat Ahmadzai.

Pitch and conditions

This is the second of the three floodlit games scheduled for this tournament. Barbados has traditionally boasted the quickest tracks in the Caribbean, and the batsmen can expect the ball to nip around as well as gain the extra bounce. There are scattered showers forecast for the day.

Stats and trivia

  • Albie Morkel has hit the most sixes - 23 - for South Africa in Twenty20 internationals. Noor Ali leads the fours tally for Afghanistan with 15.

  • The Kensington Oval in Barbados will be hosting its first floodlit game. Before Wednesday, the venue had hosted just one Twenty20 international, a truncated fixture between West Indies and Australia won by the hosts.

    Quotes

    "They have no fear and they have nothing to lose, which makes them dangerous."
    Graeme Smith is not taking Afghanistan lightly.

Siddhartha Talya is an editorial assistant at Cricinfo

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