South Africa and Afghanistan Poised for Historic First-Ever T20 WC Final Berth


In a thrilling turn of events, South Africa and Afghanistan are set to battle for a place in the first-ever final of any Cricket World Cup across both white-ball formats. The semi-final showdown will take place at the ICC T20 World Cup 2024 on Thursday at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba, Trinidad and Tobago.

Afghanistan’s journey to the semi-finals has been a remarkable narrative, showcasing their rise in the T20 format. Overcoming top-ranked teams like New Zealand and multiple-time champions Australia, Afghanistan has proven to be a formidable force in this tournament.

Standing unbeaten, South Africa aims to break their semi-final jinx, having lost all seven previous World Cup semi-final appearances. With a powerful batting line-up extending to number seven and a versatile bowling attack, South Africa is hopeful that 2024 will be their year to clinch the title.

The Brian Lara Cricket Academy, with a capacity of 15,000, is hosting its final match of the tournament. In the previous four Group C matches held here, runs have been scarce, with West Indies’ 149/9 against New Zealand being the highest total recorded at the venue.

South Africa, despite their perfect record, faced stiff challenges from the Netherlands, Bangladesh, and Nepal during the group stage, and a scare from the USA in the Super Eights. However, they managed to secure victories by producing “clutch” performances in crucial moments, replacing their infamous “choking” reputation.

Afghanistan’s impressive win over Australia was pivotal for their semi-final qualification. They progressed from the toughest initial group, outlasting consistent semi-finalists New Zealand. After a loss to India, they secured a historic semi-final spot by defeating Bangladesh in a thrilling match.

South Africa’s key decision lies in whether to retain a second front-line spinner, Tabraiz Shamsi, or bring back pace option Ottneil Baartman, who has played five matches in this tournament. Afghanistan might consider adding Hazratullah Zazai as an additional top-order player for added stability against South Africa’s quality bowling attack.

The Squads

South Africa: Aiden Markram (c), Ottniel Baartman, Gerald Coetzee, Quinton de Kock, Bjorn Fortuin, Reeza Hendricks, Marco Jansen, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, David Miller, Anrich Nortje, Kagiso Rabada, Ryan Rickelton, Tabraiz Shamsi, Tristan Stubbs.

Afghanistan: Rashid Khan (c), Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Azmatullah Omarzai, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Ishaq, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Karim Janat, Nangyal Kharoti, Hazratullah Zazai, Noor Ahmad, Naveen-ul-Haq, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Fareed Ahmad Malik.

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