South Africa crush Afghanistan, reach first-ever T20 World Cup final

Trinidad, June 27 (UNI) In an electrifying display of cricketing prowess, South Africa has surged into the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 final, utterly dominating Afghanistan in a riveting semifinal clash here on Thursday.

The South African bowlers cast a mesmerizing spell over the Afghan batsmen, bundling them out for a paltry 56 runs.

Marco Jansen (3/16 from three overs), Kagiso Rabada (2/14 from three), and Anrich Nortje (2/7 off three) orchestrated a symphony of precision and power, with Tabraiz Shamsi sealing the innings with magical figures of 3/16 in just 11 balls. This historic performance marked the first time a team has bowled out their opposition for under 100 in a Men’s T20 World Cup semifinal.

Chasing a modest target of 57, South Africa’s top-order batsmen remained composed and untroubled. Despite the early loss of Quinton de Kock (5), who was skillfully dismissed by Fazalhaq Farooqi (1/11), Reeza Hendricks (29*) and Aiden Markram (23) navigated their team to victory with graceful ease, reaching the target within nine overs and extinguishing any hopes Afghanistan had of a miraculous comeback.

After the match, Player of the Match Marco Jansen radiated confidence and credited the team’s straightforward approach for their resounding success. “For us, it was just sticking to the plan and bowling our best ball. The assessment was the wicket was giving us a few to work with and we just wanted to keep it simple. He’s (Markram) awesome and he keeps it calm. We will enjoy (the win) and be on it again tomorrow.”

Captain Aiden Markram echoed Jansen’s sentiments, praising the collective effort of the squad and acknowledging the unwavering support from fans back home. “It’s a massive squad effort. Really chuffed for us to have one more crack at lifting that trophy. There are a lot of people waking up (in South Africa) with a little bit more grey hair, but this win will be more comforting for them. We’ve never been there (to the final) before, but there’s a lot of belief. It takes a full squad to put together a really good game of cricket.”

The match began with a bang as Jansen removed Rahmanullah Gurbaz with the last ball of the first over, setting a fierce tone for the innings. Rabada quickly followed, dismantling Ibrahim Zadran and Mohammad Nabi’s stumps in a breathtaking double-wicket maiden. The relentless assault continued with Nortje and Shamsi cleaning up the tail, leaving Afghanistan’s batsmen gasping for breath and with no room to maneuver.

South Africa now awaits the winner of the India versus England semifinal, set to clash in Barbados on June 29. With their spirits soaring and form impeccable, South Africa stands on the brink of making history in the T20 World Cup final.

Brief scores: Afghanistan 56 in 11.5 overs (Tabraiz Shamsi 3-6, Marco Jansen 3-16, Anrich Nortje 2-7, Kagiso Rabada 2-14) lost to South Africa 60/1 in 8.5 overs (Reeza Hendricks 29*, Aiden Markram 23*; Fazalhaq Farooqi 1-11) by 9 wickets.

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