South Africa take on Afghanistan in the ICC Cricket World Cup at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff on Saturday, the first of five must win games for the Proteas if they are to stand any chance of a semi final place.
Rain put paid to the Proteas hopes of a first win of the tournament when only 7.3 overs of play were possible in their clash with West Indies in Southampton on Monday. The Proteas were in trouble with Amla and Markram falling cheaply but the predicted rain arrived with the score on 29/2 and the players never got back on the field.
After losing their first 3 matches to England (104 runs), Bangladesh (24 runs) and India (6 wickets) the point awarded for the washout against Windies leaves the Proteas second bottom in the standings with only their opponents here worse off.
For the supreme optimists out there victory in this game would set up another stay alive clash with New Zealand. Should South Africa beat New Zealand match ups with Pakistan and Sri Lanka would then look very winnable before the final round robin match with Australia. Whether 5 wins would be good enough is open to debate and the potential for more rain affected matches is also a factor to consider.
In the outright tournament betting South Africa are now trading at around 50/1 to be crowned champions, 18/1 to reach the final and 10/1 to reach the semi finals.
Quinton de Kock is leading run scorer for South Africa with 118, Rassie van der Dussen has 113 and, Faf du Plessis has made 105. Andile Phehlukwayo , Kagiso Rabada and Imran Tahir have all taken 4 wickets in the tournament, and Lungi Ngidi have 3 and Chris Morris have 3.
This is how South Africa lined up against West Indies last time out although they hope to have Ngidi fit again for this match.
Quinton de Kock (wk), Hashim Amla, Aiden Markram, Faf du Plessis (capt), Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Chris Morris, Beuran Hendricks, Kagiso Rabada, Imran Tahir,
Afghanistan have not been in action since last Saturday when they lost to New Zealand by 7 wickets. Batting first they collapsed from 66/0 to 172 all out with Hashmatullah Shahidi top scoring with 59. New Zealand completed the chase in 32.1 overs.
Earlier results saw Afghanistan lose to Australia by 7 wickets and Sri Lanka by 34 runs (DLS). They will want to spring a surprise somewhere along the line but odds of 100/1 to reach the semi finals tell their own story.
This was how Afghanistan lined up against New Zealand.
Hazratullah Zazai, Noor Ali Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib (capt), Najibullah Zadran, Ikram Alikhil (wk), Rashid Khan, Aftab Alam, Hamid Hassan
Head to Head
This will be the first ever meeting between the teams.
The Betting, Click here for all markets
South Africa 1 / 7
Note prices quoted are correct at the time of publication but are subject to change.
As disappointing as it has been for the Proteas I don’t see them missing out here. In addition to a much needed victory the net run rate for South Africa could also use a timely boost and I fancy they can cover the pre-match handicap.
Pre Match Handicap, South Africa -5.5 Wkts / -44.5 Runs at 8/10