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Other SportsCricket World Cup 2023: South Africa v Afghanistan - preview, expected line-ups...

Cricket World Cup 2023: South Africa v Afghanistan – preview, expected line-ups and prediction

The State of Play

South Africa are through to the semi-finals but the nature of their hammering against India last time out will still irk. The Proteas went into Sunday’s game as the closest challengers to the tournament hosts but were blown away by Virat Kohli and Co, losing by a whopping 243 runs. South Africa will look to rebuild morale and momentum with a win.

With one round of games to go, Afghanistan were still in with a chance of making the semis, although their hopes receded enormously following New Zealand’s win over Sri Lanka earlier today.
They were hoping for a Black Caps defeat but the opposite of that means Afghanistan need to beat the Proteas by a hugely improbable 438 runs if they are to edge ahead of fourth-placed New Zealand on net run-rate.
Afghanistan would’ve been in a stronger position had they beaten Australia on Tuesday but they were undone by the brilliance of Glenn Maxwell, who smashed an incredible 201 not out.

Team News

South Africa paceman Lungi Ngidi sustained a hamstring injury against India and it remains to be seen if he will be fit. Gerald Coetzee is set to deputise after being left out against India due to the spin-friendly track at Eden Gardens. That aside, expect South Africa to make minimal changes as they look to get their campaign back on track.

Afghanistan were so close to another brilliant win against Australia and will go in with a similar line-up for the final game in what has been a breakout tournament for Jonathan Trott’s men.

Expected Line-ups

South Africa: De Kock (wk), Bavuma (c), Van der Dussen, Markram, Klaasen, Miller, Coetzee, Jansen, Maharaj, Rabada, Shamsi

Afghanistan: Gurbaz, Zadran, Shah, Shahidi (c), Omarzai, Nabi, Khan, Alikhil (wk), Rahman, Ahmad, Naveen

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What They Said

South Africa bowling coach Eric Simons on Marco Jansen’s struggles against India
“It’s not a technical conversation. There’s potential and there’s performance and he has bowled at a certain level, and then you see performance that is a little bit off.
“We’ve got four points that have come out of our conversation that we will focus on. If he gets under pressure again, we will address them. None of them are technical. It’s really about being under pressure.”

Afghanistan coach Jonathan Trott on the resilience of his players
“We lost the New Zealand game pretty heavily and came back and won the next game. We lost the India game very heavily. Came back and beat England.
“There is evidence of us coming back. But yeah, it’s a bitter pill to swallow. It would really be nice just sitting here with 10 points.
“But hopefully that’s after the South Africa game.”

Prediction

South Africa will be smarting after the India game and expect them to beat an Afghanistan side that will rue the fact they came so close to the last four.

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Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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