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Semi-final-bound South Africa edge Afghanistan after tense run-chase

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AHMEDABAD: Rassie van der Dussen’s unbeaten half-century, paired up with Andile Phehlukwayo’s cameo lifted South Africa to beat Afghanistan by five wickets in their last ICC World Cup 2023 group fixture on Friday.

Chasing a modest 245, South Africa knocked off the winning runs for the loss of five wickets and 15 balls to spare.

Proteas openers Temba Bavuma and Quinton de Kock gave their side a head start to the 245-run pursuit as they added 64 runs for the first wicket before both perished in quick succession.

Quinton de Kock, who was the core aggressor of the opening stand, scored 41 in 47 deliveries, hitting two boundaries and three sixes while Bavuma scored a 28-ball 23.

Coming out to bat at number three, Rassie van der Dussen, put together an important 50-run partnership with Aiden Markram, who could score 25 in 32 balls.

Heinrich Klaasen (10) had a brief stay at the crease and could share a 23-run stand with van der Dussen before Rashid Khan castled him in the 28th over.

Hard-hitting batter David Miller then joined van der Dussen at the crease and the pair could stitch a 49-run partnership before the former perished after an anchoring 24.

His 33-ball knock featured one boundary and a six.

Rassie van der Dussen then finally got subtle support in the form of Phehlukwayo and they powered South Africa over the line with an unbeaten 65-run partnership.

Phehlukwayo played a crucial 39-run cameo in 37 deliveries while van der Dussen top-scorer for the Proteas with a 95-ball 76, laced up with six boundaries and a six.

For Afghanistan, Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi picked up two wickets each while Mujeeb Ur Rahman made one scalp.

After opting to Bat, Afghanistan lost their three wickets inside 11 overs with a mere 45 runs on the board.

Azmatullah Omarzai came down to bat at number five, joining Rahmat Shah and together they added 49 runs for the fourth wicket before Lungi Ngidi dismissed the latter at a total of 94 runs.

Afghanistan soon slipped to 116-6, bringing out Rashid Khan (14), who added 44 runs with Omarzai for the seventh wicket before getting caught behind.

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Noor Ahmed then played a 26-run cameo and added 44 runs to the total with Omarzai during their eighth-wicket partnership but Coetzee dismissed him in the 46th over leaving Afghanistan struggling at 204-8.

Omarzai fought valiantly adding 40 more runs with the last two batters before South African bowlers wrapped up the innings on the final ball of the innings.

Omarzai remained unbeaten at 97 from 107 balls, with the help of seven boundaries and three sixes.

Coetzee picked four wickets for South Africa while Ngidi and Keshav Maharaj picked two wickets each.

READ: Rachin Ravindra named ICC Men’s Player of the Month for October 2023

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