South Africa vs Afghanistan, Match 21 Prediction2019-06-16
Sophia Gardens, Cardiff, Wales
?This is the first encounter between Afghanistan who are at the bottom of the points table and the 9th ranked South Africa.
?Afghanistan holds the 10th position in the ICC Cricket Ranking while South Africa are at the 3rd place. Both the teams are yet to win a match in the World Cup main games.
?Two of Afghanistan bowlers – Rashid Khan (3rd) and Mujeeb Ur Rahman (10th) are in the ICC top-10 bowlers’ chart. While Imran Tahir (4th) and Kagiso Rabada (5th) represent South Africa in the same list.
Though Afghanistan and South Africa are meeting for the first time, we predict that South Africa will be the victors in the match based on their experience and skills.
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This could be South Africa’s worst World Cup if ran spoils any of their remaining group stage matches. With just one point, they hold the 9th rank, below the teams like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, West Indies, and Pakistan. Rising from here and winning all the games are going to be an uphill task but they have the potential to come out of the situation with players like Faf du Plessis, Kagiso Rabada, Imran Tahir and Hasim Amla.
Along with West Indies, Afghanistan entered this World Cup through 2018 Cricket World Cup Qualifier played at Zimbabwe, in which they had surpassed Zimbabwe, Scotland, and Ireland and held the top position in the final standings. They are a promising side and they have already shown they can defeat teams like Pakistan. It is going to be a great opportunity for them to play against South Africa and it will surely help them to grow and improve.
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Nearly at the halfway in the round robin stage, South Africa are unpleasantly continuing at the 9th place, one place above the bottom-ranked team Afghanistan. They faced 3 losses in a row only to be followed by the rain-affected 4th match. Their only win at England this season came against Sri Lanka in a warm-up match, in which they defeated Sri Lanka by 87 runs after scoring 338.
South Africa have to blame themselves for being in such a poor state. SA’s batting crumpled at 207 under 40 overs while chasing England’s total of 311 runs in the first match. The loss against Bangladesh is difficult to comprehend. With the experienced and talented batting line-up, they should have chased Bangladesh’s total of 330 runs as losing certain two points in this match will haunt them if they fail to advance to the super-four. Their batsmen collapsed once more in the third game against India.
South Africa lost a chance to register their first win of the World Cup in their fourth game against West Indies as it was abandoned due to rain, although it opened their account with default one point. Each game from here is going to be a critical one from South Africa’s perspective. Their key batsmen are Quinton de Kock (554 runs in last 10 games) and Faf du Plessis (427 in last 10 innings). From the bowling unit - Kagiso Rabada and Imran Tahir are the top performers with 13 wickets each in their last 9 games.
Faf du Plessis (C), Quinton de Kock (wk), Aiden Markram, Hashim Amla, JP Duminy, Van Der Dussen, Chris Morris, T Shamsi, Kagiso Rabada, Imran Tahir, AL Phehlukwayo.
Afghanistan is yet to pull off a victory in this World Cup and they reside at the bottom of the points table right now. Playing their second 50-over World Cup must have a better winning ratio against the teams like West Indies (75%) and Bangladesh (42 %) while this is going to be their first match against South Africa.
Afghanistan expectedly lost to Australia in their first match of the World Cup but they must be satisfied with the innings of Najibullah Zadran (51 off 49) and Rahmat Shah (43 off 60). Their bowlers, especially Mujeeb Ur Rahman conceded plenty of runs (1 for 45 in 4.5 overs) against Australia’s top order batsmen. In the second match against Sri Lanka, their bowlers did a remarkable job to bowl out Sri Lanka for 201 runs in 36.5 overs. They couldn’t seal the match as Nuwan Pradeep produced his career-best performance (4 for 31) for Sri Lanka.
In the third match versus New Zealand, Hashmatullah Shahidi (59 off 99) failed to get enough support from his teammates as Afghanistan collapsed at 172 against. Aftab Alam claimed all three wickets of New Zealand in the lost battle while their key bowler Rashid Khan couldn’t bowl an over as he got injured during the match. They must be looking at these matches as learning experiences and try to give their best shot instead of getting the pressure of winning the games.
Najibullah Zadran (279 runs in previous 8 games) and Asghar Afghan (276 runs in last 6 innings) are the batsmen to watch for. While among the bowlers, Aftab Alam (13 wickets in last 5 matches) and Gulbadin Naib (12 in previous 7 games) performed remarkably recently along with Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi.
Gulbadin Naib(c), Mohammad Shahzad(w), Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Dawlat Zadran, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Hamid Hassan
The match is to be played at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff. The highest total recorded on this ground is 386 by England against Bangladesh. The average first and second inning scores are 229 and 213. The highest total chased is 304 by Pakistan against England and the lowest defended is 169 by England against New Zealand. The average score in last 10 matches batting first is 271.
The surface looks good for batting and in 15 out of 23 matches in which we got the results, the teams batting second have won. Hence it is recommended to field first after winning the toss.
South Africa has been at the receiving ends due to rains and other factors plenty of times in the World Cups and despite having all the ingredients to become a World Champion, the trophy still eludes them. This time they must be praying to get the chance to play all the remaining matches without being affected by rain. This match would be an easy contest for South Africa, but they must not take them too lightly and repeat the mistakes they did in the match against Bangladesh.
Overall, South Africa are must stronger compared to Afghanistan in all three aspects of the game and hence we predict that South Africa will defeat Afghanistan to register their first win of the World Cup.
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