The grand Narendra Modi Stadium is all set to host an enthralling encounter in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023, where the spirited challengers, Afghanistan, will face off against the mighty South Africans. Both teams are set to clash, with Afghanistan seeking an honourable exit and South Africa honing their skills for the upcoming semi-finals - a feast for cricket fans.
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Match Preview: Afghanistan vs South Africa, ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 42nd Match
ICC World Cup • 10 Nov, 2023 • 4,673 Views • ⭐ 5.0
Written by Anand Swami
The Narendra Modi Stadium celebrated for its vast expanse and rich cricketing legacy, is set to host an enthralling duel between bat and ball. Historically, the pitches here have been partial to batters, offering a surface that facilitates run-scoring. However, the initial overs might prove testing for the batsmen as the pitch has shown a tendency to aid seam bowlers early in the game.
Form Guide: Afghanistan
Afghanistan's recent One Day International (ODI) performances read LWWWL, with the team coming agonizingly close to a historic win against Australia in pursuit of a World Cup semi-final spot. Unfortunately, they fell short, thanks to a powerful display from Glenn Maxwell. Despite this, their campaign in Ahmedabad marks a significant stride forward from past achievements. They have only ever managed to beat Scotland in the World Cups of 2015 and 2019. However, this tournament has been different; Afghanistan claimed victories over three former World Cup champions—England, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan—and added a win against the Netherlands to their tally.
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The team that once struggled in international cricket has demonstrated commendable progress in the 2023 World Cup. Each of the top five Afghan batters has accumulated over 250 runs in the tournament, underscoring a potent and reliable batting lineup. On the bowling front, while Rashid Khan has been the leading wicket-taker for Afghanistan, his performance has seen ups and downs.
Mujeeb Ur Rahman, despite a modest tally of seven wickets in eight games, remains a vital cog in their bowling machinery. Complementing these efforts are emerging talents like Noor Ahmad, Fazalhaq Farooqi, and Naveen-ul-Haq, who have all stepped in to claim important wickets. The collective performance of these players has elevated Afghanistan to a higher competitive level than observed in previous tournaments.
Form Guide: South Africa
The South African team's recent form in ODIs has been impressive, showing LWWWW in their last five matches. The Proteas have already secured a place in the semi-finals and approach their final league game against Afghanistan without the pressure of qualification weighing on them. This match comes after a tough loss to India in Kolkata, where they faced a heavy defeat by 243 runs. Despite this setback, David Miller remains optimistic about the team's ability not to be "horrific chasing," although it's acknowledged that their results have been better when batting first.
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South Africa's batting lineup has been formidable throughout the tournament, registering five totals over the 300-run mark, with their highest being a mammoth 428 against Sri Lanka. The question that looms large as they face Afghanistan is whether the Afghan bowlers, who have been effective in keeping scores under 300, can contain the South African batting power. The South African team will look to use this game as a chance to regroup and gain momentum as they head into the knockout stages of the tournament.
Players to Watch
Ibrahim Zadran stands as Afghanistan's leading run-scorer and notched their first century in this World Cup during the crucial game against Australia. His formidable average of 57.5 against pacers underscores his key role in facing the South African pace attack. With an impressive start in his ODI tenure, Ibrahim, after playing just 27 matches, is already one century short of equalling the record held by Mohammad Shahzad for Afghanistan.
On the South African side, Marco Jansen is poised for redemption after a tough match against India, where he conceded 94 runs in 9.4 overs and had a low impact with the bat. Nonetheless, his overall World Cup performance has been remarkable, securing the third-highest wicket tally with 17 dismissals. Jansen's prowess during the powerplay has been particularly noteworthy, capturing 12 wickets across eight innings — the highest by any bowler in the tournament thus far. With a strike rate of 111.34 lower down the order, he aims to reaffirm his value as a match-winner in the upcoming game.
Considering the pitch conditions in Ahmedabad, Afghanistan's team management may contemplate the inclusion of Fazalhaq Farooqi into the playing XI, potentially in place of either Noor Ahmad or Mujeeb Ur Rahman. The rest of the Afghan squad is expected to remain unchanged. On the South African front, Lungi Ngidi's early exit from the bowling spell against India, due to an issue two deliveries into his ninth over, has been a point of concern.
Though he returned to bat and has been cleared to play, the team might consider resting him or Kagiso Rabada for the upcoming match, possibly handing Andile Phehlukwayo his debut in the tournament. Additionally, there's a chance for the spin option Tabraiz Shamsi to be swapped for pace, with Gerald Coetzee in line to take over his duties.
Pitch and Weather Report
The pitch in Ahmedabad has been relatively modest in terms of scoring during this World Cup, with no team surpassing the 300-run mark thus far. The nature of the soil at the venue will play a significant role in determining the behaviour of the surface. As for the weather conditions on match day, the temperature is anticipated to be around 36 degrees Celsius at the commencement of the game, with a gradual decrease as the day transitions into the evening. The likelihood of rain affecting play is minimal to none.
Afghanistan (Probable): Hashmatullah Shahidi (capt), Rashid Khan, Naveen-ul-Haq, Rahmat Shah, Azmatullah Omarzai, Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Mohammad Nabi, Mujeeb Ur Rahman/Fazalhaq Farooqi, Ikram Alikhil (wk), Noor Ahmad
South Africa (Probable): David Miller, Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen, Quinton de Kock (wk), Marco Jansen, Heinrich Klaasen, Temba Bavuma (capt), Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi/Gerald Coetzee, Lungi Ngidi/Andile Phehlukwayo
Viewers can watch the South Africa vs Afghanistan match live as it will be streamed and telecasted on the Star Sports Network and Disney+ Hotstar within India. Fans in South Africa can watch the match on SuperSport. In Afghanistan, Ariana TV will broadcast the game. The game is scheduled to begin at 2 PM (IST), with the toss set for 1:30 PM IST. For audiences in South Africa, the action starts at 10:30 AM (GMT), and for fans in Afghanistan, the match commences at 1 PM (AFT).
The final overs in Ahmedabad will mark more than just the end of a match; they will encapsulate Afghanistan's tenacious journey and South Africa's quest for cricketing supremacy. Afghanistan looks to cap off their campaign with a resounding performance, while South Africa intends to enter the semi-finals with their winning aura undiminished, making this face-off a spectacle of high stakes and heart.
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