ICC U19 World Cup 2020: Afghanistan Stun Former Champions South Africa by Seven Wickets in Opener
Shafiqullah Ghafari celebrates with teammates (© ICC)

Afghanistan began their ICC U19 World Cup 2020 campaign on a sparkling note with a thumping seven-wicket win overs hosts and former champions South Africa at Diamond Oval in Kimberley on Friday. After skittling Bryce Parsons-led South Africa for 129, Afghanistan chased down the target in 25 overs in a Group D encounter.

That Afghanistan were able to register a dominating performance was largely due to spinner Shafiqullah Ghafari’s excellent figures of 6/15 in 9.1 overs. South Africa opted to bat first and lost their openers to Fazal Haq (2/43) inside three overs.

Captain Parsons (40) and Luke Beaufort (25) repaired the damage with a 57-run partnership for the third wicket before Noor Ahmad broke them apart. The South Africans then crumbled to the wristspin of Ghafari with No. 9 Gerald Coetzee offering some semblance of a fight hitting 38 off 23 with four fours and three sixes.

South Africa were bowled out in 29.1 overs.

In reply, Afghanistan lost captain and opening batsman Farhan Zakhil (11) cheaply. However, Ibrahim Zadran and Imran Mir hit half-centuries to put their team on course for a comfortable victory.

Mir top-scored with 57 off 48 while Zadran hit 52 off 72.

For his superb bowling, Ghafari was chosen as the player-of-the-match.

South Africa next face Canada on January 22 in their second group match while Afghanistan will square off against United Arab Emirates on the same day.

Brief Scores: Afghanistan U19 130/3 (Imran Mir 57, Ibrahim Zadran 52; Achille Cloete 2.20) beat South Africa U19 129 (Bryce Parsons 40, Gerald Coetzee 38; Shafiqullah Ghafari 6/15) by seven wickets.