CARDIFF    -   South Africa finally got a World Cup win under their belt as they eased to a nine-wicket triumph over Afghanistan at Sophia Gardens on Saturday to keep alive their hopes of a semi-final berth.

The South Africans set about the slightly adjusted target of 127 from 48 overs in cautious fashion, reaching 131-1 with 19 overs to spare.

Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock put together a 104-run opening wicket partnership before De Kock was dismissed for 68.

Imran Tahir grabbed three quick wickets to help South Africa skittle Afghanistan for just 125 in 34.1 overs. The wily legspinner ended with 4-29 in seven overs after Faf du Plessis had won the toss and asked Afghanistan to bat first with the innings twice interrupted by some showers resulting in the match being reduced to 48 overs per side.

Afghanistan were 69 for two after 20 overs at the second interruption and the introduction of Tahir after the resumption of resulted in Afghanistan losing five wickets for just eight runs in 20 deliveries.

A late onslaught from allrounder Rashid Khan (35), who struck six boundaries, including 14 runs from Tahir’s seventh over, ended when Rashid launched the spinner towards deep mid-wicket where Rassie van der Dussen took a measured catch on the rope.

Afghanistan had made a steady start with Hazratullah Zazai (22) and Noor Ali Zadran (32) posting a decent 39 runs for the first wicket but it was Kagiso Rabada (8-1-36-1) who made the first breakthrough after the first rain interruption, having the left-handed Hazratullah caught by Van der Dussen on the square leg boundary, running in and taking a good catch low down.

Rahmat Shah (6) struggled to move the ball around, lasting all of 22 balls before a straight ball from Chris Morris (6.1-2-13-3) had the righthander caught on the crease and given out leg before.

 Then the rain came down, forcing the players off the field for the second time and the Proteas fought back brilliantly after the second resumption.

Tahir’s first ball saw the middle stump of Noor Ali disturbed and just four balls later the legspinner was at it again, having Asghar Afghan (0) caught and bowled. Andile Phehlukwayo (8-1-18-2) then got Mohammad Nabi playing on for just a single two balls later.

Aiden Markram then took an instinctive catch at short mid-wicket off Tahir in his next over with the captain Gulbadin Naib pulling a short ball from the legspinner for just five to leave Afghanistan on a precarious 77 for seven.

Scorecard

AFGHANISTAN:

Hazratullah c der Dussen b Rabada 22

Noor Zadran b Imran Tahir 32

Rahmat Shah lbw b Morris 6

Hashmat c du Plessis b Phehlukwayo 8

Asghar Afghan c & b Imran Tahir 0

M Nabi b Phehlukwayo 1

Ikram Alikhil c Amla b Morris 9

Gulbadin c Markram b Imran Tahir 5

Rashid Khan c der Dussen b Imran 35

Hamid Hassan c du Plessis b Morris 0

Aftab Alam not out 0

EXTRAS: (lb4, w3) 7

TOTAL: (all out; 34.1 overs) 125

FOW: 1-39, 2-56, 3-69, 4-69, 5-70, 6-70, 7-77, 8-111, 9-125, 10-125

BOWLING: K Rabada 8-1-36-1, B Hendricks 5-1-25-0, A Phehlukwayo 8-1-18-2, C Morris 6.1-2-13-3, Imran Tahir 7-0-29-4

SOUTH AFRICA:

H Amla not out 41

Q de Kock c Nabi b Gulbadin 68

A Phehlukwayo not out 17

EXTRAS: (lb1, w4) 5

TOTAL: (1 wkts; 28.4 overs) 131

FOW: 1-104

BOWLING: Aftab Alam 5-1-16-0, Hamid Hassan 4-1-11-0, Rashid Khan 7-0-45-0, Gulbadin Naib 6-0-29-1, M Nabi 6.4-0-29-0

TOSS: South Africa

UMPIRES: C Gaffaney, R Palliyaguruge

TV UMPIRE: Ian Gould

MATCH REFEREE: Andy Pycroft