South Africa end Afghanistan's dream
South Africa 139 for 7 (Kallis 34, Hamid 3-21) beat Afghanistan 80 (M Morkel 4-20, Langeveldt 3-12) by 59 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn delivered Afghanistan a harsh lesson by demolishing them for 80 to end their World Twenty20 dream and hand South Africa a safe path to the Super Eights. There was no mercy from Morkel and Steyn, whose speed and bounce was simply of a standard that Afghanistan had never faced before, and Charl Langeveldt chipped in with three wickets to confirm the result.
The 59-run victory showed the newcomers that, for all their incredible progress over the past couple of years, there is a long way still to go. Afghanistan's spirits were high after their bowling effort, having restricted South Africa to a respectable 139 for 7, but the chase was quickly and comprehensively derailed.
Steyn (2 for 6) beat the bat with his outswing and had Noor Ali caught behind for a duck in the first over, before Morkel ran through the middle order to finish with 4 for 20. The batsmen struggled to react to the quality bowling and especially the short deliveries, and six of the ten dismissals were caught behind the wicket.
That they avoided recording the lowest ever Twenty20 international total was a feat in itself after they were 14 for 6, but the change bowlers proved more to their liking. Mirwais Ashraf gave Afghanistan's fans a few happy moments when he clobbered a monstrous six off Albie Morkel, before Hamid Hassan made a quick 22 from 21 balls, as the lower order cleared the boundary a combined five times.
It was pleasing that Afghanistan fought it out to the end in their first major tournament, but equally appropriate that the eight strongest teams have now progressed to the next stage. There might have been some nervy moments for South Africa at the halfway point - their batsmen had made a strong start and at one stage 180 looked possible - but they need not have worried.
Still, there are some issues for them to address before their next match against New Zealand, notably their scoring rate. Against India, they struggled to judge the tempo of their chase and this time they found it hard to capitalise on a brisk opening in which they raced to 45 for 1 from four overs.
Having struck two healthy sixes over midwicket and long-on off Mirwais in the fourth over, Jacques Kallis soon became tied down and when he tickled a catch down the leg side off Hamid's first ball he had 34 off 33. Hamid was the best of the bowlers for Afghanistan, fast and straight, and finished with 3 for 21 including the lbw of Mark Boucher and JP Duminy, who was wonderfully caught at cover by Nowroz Mangal.
Afghanistan's fielding was sharp, if not always clean, and they began with the snappy run-out of Loots Bosman, caught short by a Shapoor Zadran throw from fine leg. Graeme Smith's quick 27 ended with a skied catch from the second ball of Mohammad Nabi's spin, and the legbreaks of Samiullah were impressively economical.
AB de Villiers cleared long-off against Nowroz and crashed a ball into the windows of the press box, but soon afterwards he was beaten by the same bowler and stumped for 17. There were some late runs from Albie Morkel and Duminy that helped South Africa avoid some blushes having been 90 for 5, and the opening bowler Zadran returned for a wicket in the final over.
It was an appropriate reward for Zadran, who started the match with a wonderful bouncing outswinger that comprehensively beat the bat of Smith. Unfortunately for Afghanistan, Steyn and Morne Morkel had a few of those up their sleeves as well.
Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo