Proteas break semis curse as Afghan fairytale comes to grinding halt

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Choosing to bat first, Afghanistan’s innings started disastrously as Marco Jansen struck early, dismissing the tournament’s leading run-scorer, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, for a three-ball duck in the opening over. Jansen continued his onslaught by dismantling Gulbadin Naib’s stumps in his next over.

Kagiso Rabada compounded Afghanistan’s woes with a devastating double-wicket maiden, leaving them staggering at 20/4. Jansen maintained his lethal form, having Nangeyalia Kharote caught behind in his third over, setting the stage for Anrich Nortje and Tabraiz Shamsi to wrap things up.

Nortje added to Afghanistan’s misery by getting Azmatullah Omarzai out for 10, and then sending Rashid Khan’s stumps flying in the 11th over. Meanwhile, Shamsi spun a web around the lower order, cleaning up the tail in under two overs. Afghanistan was bowled out for their lowest-ever T20I total of 56, with only one batter managing to reach double figures.

Despite the daunting task, Afghanistan’s new-ball stars Fazalhaq Farooqi and Naveen-ul-Haq sparked hopes of an improbable comeback with some unplayable deliveries. Farooqi, in particular, bowled a gem of a delivery to clean up Quinton de Kock after a brilliant setup.

However, Reeza Hendricks and Aiden Markram steadied the ship for South Africa, skillfully navigating the tough conditions before accelerating to chase down the target within nine overs, securing a historic victory for the Proteas.

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