South Africa defeated Afghanistan in a highly entertaining game by 37 runs at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, Sunday. Afghanistan, who were set a target of 210 runs to win, managed to score 172 runs, which was a commendable effort from the Afghans.
AB de Villiers played a huge role with the bat, scoring a quick fire 64 runs, for South Africa, who have registered their first victory in the 2016 World T20. South Africa captain Faf du Plessis, who won the toss, decided to bat first and it was the right choice in the batsmen-friendly track in Mumbai.
Though South Africa's total of 209 runs might have been a daunting one for Afghanistan, they got off to a great start with Mohammad Shahzad playing, as usual, fearlessly against the bowlers. The right-hander made life difficult for Proteas' bowlers, who were smashed all around the park, but was dismissed for 44 runs in the fourth over. Shahzad entertained the gathered crowd in Mumbai with three fours and five sixes.
The score read 52 for the loss of one wicket when Shahzad was dismissed by Chris Morris, who later dismissed skipper Asghar Stanikzai as well. Noor Ali and Gulbadin Naib batted decently, and were gradually inching towards Proteas' total, but they suffered a setback with the dismissal of Naib for 26 runs. Ali also followed suit in the next over, and now the target of 210 runs looked even more uphill.
Afghanistan batsmen were still not giving up, scoring runs at a healthy rate. Despite some big hits from Samiullah Shenwari ( 25 runs), Afghanistan fell short of the target. Morris was the pick of the bowlers for South Africa, picking up four wickets.
Earlier, Quinton de Kock provided a flying start, scoring runs with ridiculous ease despite the early dismissal of Hashim Amla for five runs only. Kock hit boundaries at will, all around the wicket, against both the spinners and pacers. He scored an amazing 31-ball 45, which comprised six fours and two sixes. Plessis, on the other hand, also played a good hand, scoring 27-ball 41. Such innings from Kock and Plessis provided a perfect base for AB de Villiers to play his attacking game.
AB de Villiers did not disappoint his fans as they cheered him on. Though de Villiers might have started on a slow note, he began to dictate terms when he got his eye in, hitting the Afghan bowlers for mighty sixes. He scored 64 runs from 29 balls, comprising four fours and five sixes.
South Africa were still not done after the dismissal of de Villiers as David Miller finished off the innings, scoring 8-ball 14 runs, which helped them amass over 200 runs.
South Africa might have emerged victorious against Afghanistan, but their bowling is still a major concern, which needs to be improved if they are to justify their major contenders tag for the title. South Africa face West Indies in Bengaluru, Friday.