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Match reports

Afghanistan v South Africa

Wisden's review of Afghanistan v South Africa

Andrew Miller
Andrew Miller
At Mumbai (Wankhede), March 20, 2016. South Africa won by 37 runs. Toss: South Africa.
An onslaught from de Villiers proved the difference against a defiant Afghanistan, whose spirit was exemplified by their hard-hitting opener Mohammad Shahzad. Batting first in a contest they had to win, South Africa reached 90 for one in the tenth over, before Afghanistan's spinners stifled their progress. At 138 for three after 16, it took de Villiers's assault on leg-spinner Rashid Khan to restore confidence that their total would be safe: he smashed 29 in an over, including four sixes and a four, en route to 64 from 29 balls, a stamp of authority that ought to have put the Associates in their place. South Africa, however, had reckoned without the belligerence of Shahzad. Tearing into the new ball like Obelix faced with a Roman legion, he carted five sixes in the first three overs, reaching 32 before his opening partner Noor Ali Zadran had even faced a ball, and finished with 44 from 19. A canny spell of deck-hitting seam from Morris, who took a format-best four for 27, slowed the Afghan charge. But, with Noor Ali anchoring the chase, and Gulbadeen Naib and Samiullah Shenwari providing the impetus, their refusal to accept defeat was inspiring. Shahzad later caused hilarity by suggesting that the absence of Dale Steyn had hindered Afghanistan. "Steyn is not dangerous," he said. "This wicket is good to face a pacer - the ball is coming on to the bat. So, no, I am not happy that he was not playing."
Man of the Match: C. H. Morris.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo. @miller_cricket