Afghanistan Looks to Continue Dream Run against unbeaten South Africa

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Afghanistan’s rapid rise in cricket has been nothing short of remarkable. Since their first official fixture in 2004, they’ve climbed the ranks to reach their maiden World Cup semi-final in just 20 years. The team’s progress is a testament to their raw talent, now polished through exposure in global T20 leagues.

Led by the charismatic Rashid Khan, Afghanistan’s squad is a blend of seasoned pros and exciting young talents. Rashid, a top T20 player globally, is complemented by left-arm spinner Noor Ahmad and power-hitter Rahmanullah Gurbaz. Fazalhaq Farooqi and Naveen-ul-Haq have also emerged as key bowlers, with Dwayne Bravo’s tactical guidance playing a significant role.

Veteran Mohammad Nabi, a stalwart since their early days, adds experience and stability. Afghanistan’s journey, marked by passion and skill, has captured the hearts of cricket fans worldwide, particularly in the Caribbean.

Form Guide

  • Afghanistan: WWLLW (last five T20Is)
  • South Africa: WWWWW

Players to Watch

Naveen-ul-Haq: Naveen’s rise has been pivotal for Afghanistan, especially in the powerplay. His ability to swing the ball and deliver lethal variations at the death makes him a formidable opponent. His standout delivery to Travis Head is already being hailed as a contender for the ball of the tournament.

Heinrich Klaasen: Klaasen’s proficiency against spin, marked by an impressive strike rate, will be crucial for South Africa. His innovative strokes, particularly against spinners, could disrupt Afghanistan’s rhythm and prove decisive.

Team News


  • Rahmanullah Gurbaz’s fitness is under question after a knee injury. If unfit, Hazratullah Zazai may open, with Mohammad Ishaq stepping in as keeper.
  • Probable XI: Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk)/Hazratullah Zazai, Azmatullah Omarzai, Gulbadin Naib, Mohammad Nabi, Karim Janat/Mohammad Ishaq (wk), Rashid Khan (capt), Nangeyalia Kharote, Naveen-ul-Haq, Noor Ahmad, Fazalhaq Farooqi

South Africa:

  • Likely to stick with Reeza Hendricks despite his form issues, given the high stakes.
  • Probable XI: Quinton de Kock (wk), Reeza Hendricks, Aiden Markram (capt), David Miller, Heinrich Klaasen, Tristan Stubbs, Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Tabraiz Shamsi

Pitch and Conditions

  • Expect variable bounce, though recent remedial work may result in a truer pitch.
  • Dew could be a factor, but rain is unlikely.

Stats and Trivia

  • Afghanistan’s powerplay bowlers have been exceptional, taking 20 wickets at an economy rate of 7.19.
  • South Africa’s middle-order batters boast a lower strike rate (102.21) compared to other teams.
  • Klaasen vs. Rashid: Klaasen has scored 27 runs off 21 balls with one dismissal. Miller has 50 runs off 42 balls but has been dismissed four times by Rashid.


  • Jonathan Trott, Afghanistan Coach: “For us, it’s a new challenge and I think that makes us dangerous in the semi-finals as a side with nothing to lose and obviously a lot of pressure on the opposition.”
  • South Africa: “Definitely, it’s always great to dream and I think everyone in South Africa dreams of the time when a trophy gets lifted.”

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