• Proteas must defend 209

    A late onslaught from AB de Villiers ensured South Africa reached 209-5 batting first against Afghanistan in Mumbai on Sunday.

    Whether they will be able to defend that this time remains to be seen, although they are favourites to do so even without Dale Steyn, who was dropped for this match.

    It’s important to note that the strip this game is being played on is not the same one that was used for South Africa’s first clash with England. It is in fact the pitch that England and the West Indies played on last week where the latter chased down 180-odd for victory.

    Faf du Plessis won the toss and decided to bat first as Quinton de Kock (45 off 31) got his team off to fast start again.

    Du Plessis came in at No 3 but scored at a faster rate than was the case against England the other night. Together they got South Africa to 66 in the powerplay, 60 of those runs coming in boundaries.

    Their partnership was worth 65 when Du Plessis got himself run-out for 41 from 27 before De Kock nicked one behind.

    That brought De Villiers and JP Duminy (29 from 20) to the crease and their 76-run partnership changed the shape of the innings and ensured they surpassed the 200-mark for the second game in a row. The partnership was fuelled by a vicious onslaught by De Villiers, who took a while to settle but once he did he wreaked havoc.

    De Villiers, who was dropped on 26, smashed 64 from 29 balls, including taking 29 runs from the 17th over with 6 4 6 6 6 1. The last eight deliveries De Villiers faced went for 35 runs and it took the Proteas from 138-3 with four overs to go to 167-3 and was the main reason they managed to get past 200.

    Duminy and David Miller (19 from 8) also did some damage at the death, in what was the sixth highest total in World T20 history.


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