Imran Tahir, in the company of Chris Morris, ran through the Afghanistan batting to help South Africa collect their first win at the 2019 World Cup after enduring three successive defeats and a washout. Here’s Lungani Zama’s report from the 2020 Wisden Almanack.
Afghanistan v South Africa
Match 21, ICC Cricket World Cup 2019
Sophia Gardens, Cardiff
June 15, 2019
South Africa finally won, defying two weather interruptions to cruise home with almost 20 overs to spare. Put in, Afghanistan had reached 69 for two before the hour-long second break, then donated five for eight after the restart. One of those was Asghar Afghan, playing his first match as he was now fully fit, according to his successor, Gulbadeen Naib; bafflingly, the man to make way was Najibullah Zadran, Afghanistan’s leading scorer in the tournament.
Imran Tahir was the destroyer, castling Noor Ali with a first-ball googly, and catching Asghar for a duck off his own bowling four deliveries later. It took a muscular 35 from Rashid Khan to lift the total into three figures.
After the target was tweaked to 127 off 48 overs, de Kock collected 68 and put on 104 with Amla, South Africa’s first ODI century opening stand for 20 months. Desperate for time in the middle, Amla laboured to 41 from 83 balls, a curious innings given South Africa needed to repair their net run-rate.
Phehlukwayo, having bowled tightly, was promoted to No. 3, and ended the match by walloping Mohammad Nabi straight for six.
First published in the 2020 Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack