The opening day of the U19 World Cup was a witness to a one-sided affair between South Africa and Afghanistan. At the Diamond Oval in Kimberley, Farhan Zakhil’s men stormed to a victory by seven wickets. The Proteas were found wanting while taking on the Afghan spinners, especially Shafiqullah Ghafari. They have plenty of homework to do before they face Canada on Wednesday, January 22.
Ghafari bamboozles South Africa
The Proteas’ decision to bat first backfired on them to start with. Left-armer Fazal Haque castled openers, Andre Louw and Jonathan Bird to wreak havoc. But skipper Bryce Parsons and Luke Beaufort took the attack to the opposition. The duo put on 55 runs in 59 balls and injected momentum into the innings. Chinaman Noor Ahmed broke the stand, dismissing the captain.
Parsons scored 40 with seven fours, but once he got out, the South African batting collapsed. Leg-spinner Shafiqullah Ghafari made regular breakthroughs to push the opponent on the backfoot. The youngster picked up a six-wicket-haul, giving away a mere 15 runs. Gerald Coetzee, playing his second U19 World Cup, scored 38 off 23 with four fours and three sixes. He took his team to 129.
Zadran and Ibrahim see the Afghans through
In their run-chase, the Afghan openers started in a positive manner. Farhan Zakhil and Ibrahim Zadran put on 26 off 25 to set the tone for the rest of the innings. But fast bowler Achille Cloete found skipper Zakhil’s edge to give South Africa something to cheer for. Imran joined Zadran in the middle and the duo made sure that their opponent isn’t allowed a foothold back in the match.
Imran was the more attacking off the two. He scored 57 off 48 with 10 fours in an 80-run stand with his captain. Tiaan van Vuuren got rid of him, but by then the target was reduced to 26. After the second wicket, Test cricketer Ibrahim Zadran also brought up his half-century. The right-hander got out after scoring 51 off 67 with eight fours. In the end, the Afghans won with 25 overs to spare.
South Africa U19: 129 all out in 29.1 overs (Bryce Parsons 40, Gerald Coetzee 38; Shafiqullah Ghafari 6/15)
Afghanistan U19: 130/3 in 25 overs (Imran 57, Ibrahim Zadran 52; Achille Cloete 2/19)
Afghanistan U19 win by seven wickets.
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