BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – Morne Morkel ended with career-best figures, as South Africa ruthlessly formalised a place in the Super Eights with a crushing 59-run victory over lightweights Afghanistan in the Twenty20 World Cup yesterday.
Morkel exploited a helpful Kensington Oval pitch, and captured four wickets for 20 runs from three overs, as Afghanistan, chasing 140 for victory, were dismissed for 80 in 16 overs in the 12th and final group match of the competition.
Mirwais Ashraf struck a four and a pair of sixes in the top score of 23 from 25 balls for Afghanistan, and Hamid Hassan completed a memorable all-round performance with the same number of boundaries in 22 from 21 balls.
The result throttled the South Africans into the second stage of the competition with two points, which puts them second in Group-C behind 2007 T20 World champions India, and condemns the Afghans to an early departure from the competition.
A handful of South African batsmen got starts, but no one carried on, as Hassan collected three for 21 from his allotment of four overs to wobble his opponents much vaunted batting line-up.
Jacques Kallis led the way for South Africa with 34, Graeme Smith made 27, Jean-Paul Duminy got 25, and Albie Morkel added 23.
The South African new-ball pair of Morkel and Dale Steyn got familiar with a surface on which they will play a Test against West Indies next month, and extracted bounce and movement to manhandle the Afghans early.
Steyn removed opener Noor Ali for a duck, and Mohammad Shahzad for two to leave Afghanistan five for two in the third over.
Morkel then ensured the match was over as a genuine contest, when he bowled with aggression, and removed Afghanistan captain Nowroz Mangal, opener Karim Sadiq, Raees Ahmadzai, and Mohammad Nabi cheaply to leave the Afghans scrambling on 15 for six.
Once the fiery pace of Steyn and Morkel was removed from the firing line, Afghanistan’s batsmen started to find their feet, and steadily they avoided the ignominy of being dismissed for the lowest total in T20Is, which was Kenya’s final total against Ireland two years ago in Belfast.
Hassan smashed Roelof van der Merwe over long-on for his second six in the 15th over to put Afghanistan clear.
Earlier, South Africa’s batsmen failed to ease concerns about their form, when they struggled to get on top of the inexperienced Afghan attack.
It took some lusty, late hitting from Albie Morkel in a stand of 43 with Duminy to add some beef to their total, and put the match out of reach of their opponents.
There will be little rest for South Africa, since they face New Zealand in the second match of the Super Eights today at the same venue. Start: 1:30 p.m. (East Caribbean Time).
SOUTH AFRICA (20 overs maximum)
*G. Smith c *Nowroz Mangal b Mohammad Nabi 27
L. Bosman run out (Shapoor Zadran/Samiullah Shenwari) 0
J. Kallis c wkpr Mohammad Shahzad b Hamid Hassan 34
A. de Villiers st Mohammad Shahzad b *Nowroz Mangal 10
J. Duminy c *Nowroz Mangal b Hamid Hassan 25
+M. Boucher lbw b Hamid Hassan 4
A. Morkel c *Nowroz Mangal b Shapoor Zadran 23
R. van der Merwe not out 2
D. Steyn not out 1
Extras (lb4, w2) 6
TOTAL (7 wkts, 20 overs) 139
M. Morkel, C. Langeveldt did not bat
Fall of wickets: 1-13 (Bosman, 1.1 overs); 2-45 (Smith, 4.2); 3-77 (de Villiers, 10.3); 4-84 (Kallis, 12.1); 5-90 (+Boucher, 14.1); 6-133 (Duminy, 18.2); 7-137 (A. Morkel, 19.4)
Bowling: Shapoor Zadran 3-0-29-1; Mirwais Ashraf 2-0-18-0; Mohammad Nabi 4-0-33-1; Samiullah Shenwari 4-0-14-0; *Nowroz Mangal 3-0-20-1 (w1); Hamid Hassan 4-0-21-3
AFGHANISTAN(target: 140 from 20 overs)
Noor Ali c wkpr Boucher b Steyn 0
Karim Sadiq c de Villiers b Morkel 0
+Mohammad Shahzad c wkpr Boucher b Steyn 2
*Nowroz Mangal c Kallis b M. Morkel 1
Asghar Stanikzai c Steyn b Langeveldt 3
Raees Ahmadzai c wkpr Boucher b M. Morkel 4
Mohammad Nabi c Duminy b Morkel 4
Samiullah Shenwari run out (de Villiers) 11
Mirwais Ashraf b Langeveldt 23
Hamid Hassan c Kallis b Langeveldt 22
Shapoor Zadran not out 1
Extras (lb1, w8, nb2) 11
TOTAL (all out, 16 overs) 80
Fall of wickets: 1-1 (Noor Ali, 0.3 overs); 2-5 (+Mohammad Shahzad, 2.3); 3-7 (*Nowroz Mangal, 3.1); 4-8 (Karim Sadiq, 3.4); 5-12 (Raees Ahmadzai, 3.6); 6-14 (Mohammad Nabi, 5.1); 7-25 (Asghar Stanikzai, 6.5); 8-32 (Samiullah Shenwari, 7.5); 9-65 (Mirwais Ashraf, 13.1)
Bowling: Steyn 3-0-6-2 (w2); Langeveldt ; M. Morkel
Result: South Africa won by 59 runs
Points: South Africa 2, Afghanistan 0
Man-of-the-Match: Morne Morkel (South Africa)
Umpires: I. Gould, S. Taufel
TV umpire: B. Doctrove
Matchreferee: R. Madugalle
Reserve umpire: Aleem Dar