Bridgetown (Barbados): South Africa booked their place in the Super Eights with a convincing 59-run victory over Afghanistan in their final World Twenty20 Group C match in Barbados.
The Afghans bowled well, after skipper Nowroz Mangal won the toss, to restrict South Africa to 139 for seven, with paceman Hamid Hassan taking an impressive three for 21. Jacques Kallis top-scored with 34 and skipper Graeme Smith made 27.
The minnows, while chasing, were in serious trouble after they slumped to 12 for five in the fourth over. Fast bowler Morne Morkel took four for 20 and Dale Steyn bagged two for six to bowl out Afghanistan for 80 in 16 overs.
The South African pacers thrived on a lively wicket at the Kensington Oval as the inexperienced Afghanistan batting failed to cope up with the pressure.
Kallis needs to step on the gas
South Africa go through to Group E of the Super Eights, where they will face England, Pakistan and New Zealand, while Afghanistan return home with their heads held high.
Despite the loss, Afghanistan showed plenty of promise on their debut on the world stage. The bowlers held their nerve against one of the best batting line-ups and did well to restrict them to 139.
Afghan spinners kept a tight line and Hassan troubled the batsmen with his pace. After Loots Bosman's early run out in the second over, it looked like Smith and Kallis would tear apart the bowling but spinner Mohammad Nabi removed the skipper for 27 in the fourth over to slow down the scoring.
T20 World Cup
AB de Villiers also found it hard to get the scoreboard ticking and was stumped for 17 off Mangal and two overs later Kallis was out after he flicked Hassan behind.
Hassan then trapped Mark Boucher lbw but some big hits by Albie Morkel (23) and JP Duminy (25) helped Proteas get to a respectable total.
Steyn and Morkel then made the most of the lively track. Steyn dismissed Noor Ali with the third ball of the innings and then got another to rise high to see off Mohammad Shahzad in the third over. Morkel took three wickets in the next over and bagged his fourth with a brutal delivery in the fifth over as the underdogs collapsed.
Afghanistan were reeling at 32 for eight in the eighth over but some defiant batting from Mirwais Ashraf (23) and Hassan (22) cheered up the Afghanistan team, with Ashraf hitting the biggest six of the tournament.