By Rex Clementine

South Africa’s unbeaten run in the ICC T-20 World Cup continued as they put up a dominating performance against Afghanistan to win the first semi-final by nine wickets in Trinidad on Wednesday.

It was a clinical performance as South Africa shot out the Afghans for 56 runs in 11.5 overs and then overcame some nervous moments to chase down the target inside nine overs.

This is the first time that South Africa have reached a final of a World Cup. The Proteas have been outstanding in this competition winning eight games in a row and they have rarely been tested.

As for Afghanistan, their impressive run in the competition came to a disappointing end with most neutrals rooting for a nation that has made rapid progress in the sport. It has been a remarkable rise for the Afghans in the sport as 16 years ago they were playing Division 5 in ICC World Cricket League alongside other countries like Fiji and Botswana.

The Trinidad pitch of course will be questioned as it wasn’t the best track for a World Cup semi-final. The wicket offered plenty of assistance for seam bowlers and once you hit the deck hard, the batters’ technique was tested.

Marco Jansen wreaked havoc picking up a wicket in each of his three overs. Kagiso Rabada had bowled after the Power Play, but South Africa sensed that this was a pitch where he could be handy with the new ball and he picked up two wickets in his first over to leave the Afghan innings in total disarray.

Anrich Nortje joined the party accounting for two wickets while Tabraiz Shamsi trapped three batters leg before wicket. Two of those dismissals were umpires’ call and the Afghans had very little luck going their way.

Extras numbering 13 contributed to the highest score in the Afghan innings.

Once Quinton de Kock fell in the second over, the Afghans had their tails up, but captain Aidan Markram batted sensibly to see his side over the line.

There was good support from Reeza Hendricks as well, who finished on 29 not out.

The South Africans now head to Barbados lead up to the big final.

It has been a memorable campaign for the Afghans and now in back to back World Cups they have put in some stunning performances. This is the first time they reached a semi-final in a World Cup.