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27-Jun-2024 02:55:00 GMT
SA vs AFG - 1st Semi-final, Trinidad

South Africa thrash Afghanistan to reach first World Cup final

Afghanistan 56 (Shamsi 3-6, Jansen 3-16)
South Africa 60/1 (Hendricks 29*, Markram 23*)
South Africa won by nine wickets

South Africa ended their run of semi-final heartache by thrashing Afghanistan to reach their first ICC men's T20 World Cup final.

The Proteas, who had failed to progress from all seven of their previous World Cup semi-finals across formats, dismissed Afghanistan for 56 in 11.5 overs on a difficult pitch on their way to a nine-wicket win in Trinidad.

Marco Jansen removed Rahmanullah Gurbaz, the tournament's leading run-scorer in Afghanistan's dramatic run to their first semi-final, and the score was soon 28-6.

Spinner Tabraiz Shamsi mopped up the tail with 3-6 and Jansen finished with 3-16 but questions will be asked about the state of the surface for such a showpiece event.

It offered excessive seam movement and bounce to the pace bowlers, at times dangerously so, with South Africa also struggling in their chase.

Quinton de Kock was bowled having been hit on the body but with little pressure to score quickly, the Proteas were able to complete their chase in 8.5 overs.

They now progress to Saturday's final in Barbados unbeaten as they look to win a World Cup for the first time.

They will play England or India, who meet in the second semi-final on Thursday in Guyana.

South Africa’s semi-final struggles have been regular and painful. There was the rain in 1992, the dramatic tie to Australia in 1999 and a last-over defeat by New Zealand in 2015.

If there were nerves this time in the Caribbean, they would not have been around for long.

After Jansen struck in his first over, Kagiso Rabada took two in his first four balls as the ball moved sharply left, right, up and down.

Afghanistan’s strength in this tournament has been their opening partnership between Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran. Once they departed there was little resistance with Azmatullah Omarzai’s 10 the highest score with the other 10 all in single figures.

There should be some sympathy for Afghanistan – first because of the surface but also because they were celebrating the biggest win their history less than 48 hours ago. They also had to deal with a four-hour flight delay in that time.

South Africa, meanwhile, progress with a real chance of breaking their tournament duck.

They had come through five tight games to reach this point and have now progressed on another strange night, albeit with their top three batters carrying plenty of bruises.

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