ICC Cricket World Cup: South Africa v Afghanistan Preview

South Africa v Afghanistan Preview

This is a meeting of two sides who came into the tournament with little pressure on them to perform, and both teams have delivered less than expected.

The Proteas and Afghanistan lost their first three games of the Cricket World Cup, though the former have sunk to new lows in terms of their performance.

Cricket World Cup
Saturday 15 June
Sophia Gardens, Cardiff 
14:30

To Win Match
South Africa 17/100
Tie 40/1
Afghanistan 42/10

South Africa
South Africa's chronic batting problems have fixed the spotlight uncomfortably onto Proteas batting coach Dale Benkenstein, who will have to trust that 'things are going to click' eventually.

The prospect of losing to Afghanistan is not as mortifying as it once was given their progress in recent time but the newest full member of the ICC have some serious batting issues of their own and on form this should be a match that Faf du Plessis and his men can control.

The collective performance for South Africa has been so poor that it has made singling out weak spots a tough task but the batsmen that are in the squad will largely be retained and will have to find a way to put runs on the board.

The return of Lungi Ngidi to full fitness creates a selection quandary with Beuran Hendricks unable to show what he brings to the party and second allrounder Chris Morris adding vital depth to a struggling batting lineup.

There is a high probability of rain before the start of play but it is expected to clear before the toss at 13:00 (BST) (14:00 SAST).

Afghanistan
The trio of World Class spinners who stud the Afghanistan lineup have not been able to lift the team anywhere near an upset victory, though much of that falls on a batting unit who have struggled even more than the Proteas.

Afghanistan have suffered some of the most spectacular collapses, the Proteas may have thrown away countless starts but their problem has been losing wickets in clusters.

The middle-order have really not shown up and Rahmat Shah's hundred against Scotland at the Grange a month ago seems like it was played in an entirely different reality, and up at the top, neither Mohammad Shahzad nor Hazrat Zazai have really been able to get going.

That trio of spinners, Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi and Mujeeb Ur Rahman possess all the skills to be the undoing of a Proteas team who are at a real low as far as confidence goes.

Afghanistan return to Cardiff, where they let slip their best shot at victory in the World Cup to date after bowling Sri Lanka out for 201 but failing to chase down a DLS target of 187 in 41 overs, they slumped to 152 all out.

Verdict: South Africa 17/100
If the Proteas can't win this match, they have serious problems.

Written by James Richardson for Hollywoodbets

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