By Rex Clementine

South Africa will be firm favourites to win the first semi-final of the ICC T20 World Cup against Afghanistan in Trinidad on Wednesday. 

The Proteas have never featured in a World Cup final and this will be a big moment for them. Afghanistan meanwhile are playing their biggest game in their cricket history having humbled former champions Australia, who had just one bad game in the tournament. Afghanistan will be hoping opening batter Rahmanullah Gurbaz will be fit to play the game. Gurbaz has been steady for Afghanistan with several match winning knocks. He was injured during their last super eight game against Bangladesh. 

Fellow opener Ibrahim Zadran has been involved  in several match winning partnerships with Gurbaz. The rest of the batters need to take up more responsibility as the middle order hasn’t clicked. Bowling is Afghanistan’s key though. 

Left-arm quick Fazalhaq Farooqi is the leading wicket taker in the competition with 16 wickets to his name. He has provided early breakthroughs for the team. Rashid Khan is quite a sensation as well bowling with control after the power play. He’s the third highest wicket taker in the tournament with 14 scalps. Naveen-ul-Haq bowled some superb spells in the death overs and he remains the fourth highest wicket taker in this World Cup with 13 wickets to his credit. 

If Afghanistan’s batters did their job, they can be assured to rely on their bowlers. South Africa are one of the unbeaten sides in the tournament alongside India. They have been rarely tested in the competition and several match winners have contributed to their success. 

Quinton de Kock has been devastating with the bat and he remains the key to South Africa’s attempt to glory. The middle order comprising Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller and Tristan Stubbs have all had a successful campaign so far and will be looking to finish things off on a high note. 

Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada are the key for South Africa in  the bowling department. Two of the quickest bowlers in the game, they rarely send down a loose ball and teams need to take chances against them to score runs. Chinaman bowler Tabraiz Shamsi has been quite tough to score off as well, but Afghans should counter him well. It’s going to be a big game for both sides. World Cup finals is unknown territory for Afghanistan and they would be desperate to continue their impressive run.  As for Afghanistan world of cricket is celebrating their achievement. Doing well here means more opportunities for their deserving cricketers.