Afghan Voice Agency (AVA)_Monitoring, While Afghanistan recently wrapped up a forgettable Asia Cup campaign, South Africa won their most recent challenge, the five-match home series against Australia, 3-2.
Playing Friday at Greenfield, which generally favors batters, the toss-winning captain will likely choose to bowl first in order to have a clear target in sight.
For Afghanistan, the batter to watch out for will be Heinrich Klaasen. He was crucial for South Africa in the series against Australia, as he finished top scorer with 243 runs from five games. He is expected to carry forward his form in the upcoming match as well.
This will be only the second meeting between the two teams in an official ODI, their first face off coming in the 2019 Cricket World Cup in England. South Africa rolled Afghanistan for 125 in 24.1 overs.
South Africa will however be without their skipper on Friday as Temba Bavuma has returned home for family reasons and will miss all his team’s World Cup warm-up matches. Aiden Markram will assume the captaincy duties.
Cricket experts have said that while Afghanistan might not be Cricket World Cup contenders, they have the potential to beat many of the top teams because of their skillful spin bowlers.
The Asian heavyweights — host India and regional foe Pakistan — are the top two south Asian contenders for the semifinals, mainly because of experienced batters in their side. But both lack depth in their spin departments and could hardly match the spinners of at least Sri Lanka and Afghanistan.
Spin wizard Rashid Khan leads Afghanistan’s strong spin trio that also include other impact spinners — Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi — while left-arm spinner Noor Ahmad could also prove to be a surprise package.
Rashid’s experience of playing Indian Premier League should come in handy for Afghanistan and his wizardry on slow surfaces during the World Cup could turn the tables in Afghanistan’s favor.
Mujeeb and Nabi also could lend Rashid ideal support in the middle overs to stem the flow of runs. Afghanistan, which had direct qualification for the World Cup, also recalled fast bowler Naveen-ul-Haq to its ODI team after two years.
Despite Afghanistan’s formidable bowling base, it could all come down to the Afghan batters and how well they support their bowlers.
South Africa meanwhile have traveled to India a lot lately, having played 11 white-ball games in India since the start of 2022. Because of this, they understand the conditions at the various grounds.
After Friday, Afghanistan will play Sri Lanka in their second and final warm up at Barsapara Cricket Stadium, in Guwahati on October 3.