Shafiqullah Ghafari claimed career-best figures of six for 15 for Afghanistan under-19s as they sealed a comprehensive seven-wicket victory over South Africa in the opening match of the ICC under-19 Cricket World Cup in Kimberley on Friday.
The spinner shone to help dismiss the host nation for 129 before Imran Mir (57) and Ibrahim Zadran (52) struck impressive half-centuries to make light work of the chase.
After winning the toss and batting at the Diamond Oval, the Junior Proteas were rocked by two early wickets from Fazal Farooq (2/43). It was then up to the South African captain, Bryce Parsons (40), and Luke Beaufort (25), who teamed up for a 55-run stand for the third wicket.
The home side was then pegged back once again, as the spinners came into the attack to pick up the remaining eight wickets.
Noor Ahmed (2/44) and Ghafari combined to lethal effect, as the former picked up the crucial scalps of Parsons and Beaufort before Ghafari cleaned up the middle-order and tail-enders for just 67 runs.
In reply and despite losing the early wicket of captain, Farhan Zakhail (11), Afghanistan never looked troubled in pursuit of the low score, with the experienced Zadran and Mir putting on a match-winning 80-run partnership.
South Africa’s Achille Cloete (2/20) and Tiaan van Vuuren (1/14) made inroads but it was not enough as the subcontinent outfit cantered to victory with 25 overs remaining.
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