South Africa crush Afghanistan to make their maiden men's World Cup final

by IANS |

South Africa crush Afghanistan to make their maiden men's World Cup final (Ld) Tarouba (Trinidad), June 27 (IANS) South Africa have secured their place in the Men's T20 World Cup final for the first time ever after a commanding 9-wicket victory over Afghanistan in the semifinal here at Brian Lara Stadium on Thursday (as per IST). The stars of the match, Marco Jansen and Tabraiz Shamsi, set the tone with an exceptional performance, taking 3-fers each. Kagiso Rabada (2-14) and Anrich Nortje (2-7) barely put a foot wrong as Afghanistan were bowled out for a paltry total of 56 runs in 11.5 overs. It's the first time a team has bowled out their opposition for under 100 in a Men's T20 World Cup semifinal. In reply, despite the early wicket of Quinton de Kock (5), Reeza Hendricks (29*) and skipper Aiden Markram (23*) extinguished any Afghan threat to chase down the target inside nine overs to make their maiden World Cup final. Jansen's early dismissal of Rahmanullah Gurbaz with an outside edge caught by Hendricks, followed by his subsequent wickets, highlighted the South African bowling dominance. Rabada's double-wicket maiden, which saw him dismantle both Ibrahim Zadran and Mohammad Nabi, further crippled the Afghan innings. Nortje and Shamsi then wrapped up the tail to restrict Afghanistan to a meager total of 56. Chasing 57, South Africa's top order approached the task with a calm and calculated demeanour. Despite the early loss of Quinton de Kock, who fell for 5 to a superb delivery from Fazalhaq Farooqi, Hendricks and Markram ensured there were no further hiccups. Hendricks scored an unbeaten 29, while Markram contributed a solid 23*, guiding their team to victory in 8.5 overs and marching to their maiden ICC Men's World Cup final. Afghanistan's strategy to deploy Rashid Khan early in the powerplay failed to halt South Africa's momentum. With a quick start that saw them reach 34/1 after six overs, the Proteas' batter steadily moved towards their target, extinguishing any hopes of an Afghan comeback. This victory marks a significant milestone for South African cricket, as they now await the winner of the India vs. England semifinal to determine their opponent in the final. Interestingly, with a win in the final, South Africa will become the first-ever unbeaten team to win the T20 World Cup. The grand finale is set to take place in Barbados on June 29, where the Proteas will vie for their first ICC men's World Cup title. Brief scores: Afghanistan 56 all out in 11.5 overs (Azmatullah Omarzai 10, Rashid Khan 8, Tabraiz Shamsi 3-6, Marco Jansen 3-16) lost to South Africa 60 for 1 in 8.5 overs (Reeza Hendricks 29 not out, Aiden Markram 23 not out; Fazalhaq Farooqi 1-11) by nine wickets. --IANS hs/bc

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