South Africa v Afghanistan Prediction: Back Faz and Klass to do their thing

 | Wednesday 26th June 2024, 8:44am

Wednesday 26th June 2024, 8:44am

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It’s South Africa v Afghanistan on Thursday, June 27 (01:30, Sky Sports Cricket) in the early hours as two sides who have never made a T20 World Cup final before, try to do just that, at Tarouba.

James Pacheco has identified a good bet on an Afghan bowler on the tournament top wicket-taker market in addition to a tried-and-trusted South African batsman to come good on the day as he takes us through his South Africa vs Afghanistan Predictions...

South Africa vs Afghanistan Betting Tips

  • Fazalhaq Farooqi to be World Cup Top Wicket-Taker @ 9/2
  • Heinrich Klassen to be South Africa Top Batsman @ 11/2

South Africa

The Proteas are alongside India as the only sides to have not yet lost at this tournament, so it’s hard to deny they deserve a place in the semi-final.

In the early stages of the tournament, they developed a great habit of successfully defending low scores with some brilliant death bowling, before successfully defending an above-par score against the USA and then doing a similar job against England on better wickets.

But their win over the West Indies also showed they can chase. It wasn't the biggest total but a tricky wicket, rain delays and scoreboard pressure made it harder than it first seemed and in the end valuable knocks from Tristan Stubbs and Marco Jensen got them home after Tabraiz Shamsi had taken 3-27 to restrict the Windies to 135/8.

So, if they’re just as capable of doing both (batting or bowling first) on different wickets and winning, how can they be stopped? The cynic might suggest they can be stopped by themselves given their generally poor record under pressure in the biggest tournaments. But that hasn’t been the case at this one. So far.

The only decision to make is whether to play Keshav Maharaj or Ottneil Bartman as the fifth bowler.

Possible XI: De Kock, Hendricks, Markram, Stubbs, Klassen, Miller, Jansen, Maharaj/Bartman, Rabada, Nortje, Shamsi.

Afghanistan

For much of their must-win match against Bangladesh, it seemed like they’d got it all wrong. They shouldn’t have batted first and their go-slow approach was going to cost them, especially after the loss of their openers slowed things down even more. If anything, the only reason they had anything to defend at all was down to a brilliant cameo from Rashid Khan, whose three sixes in a knock of 19 off 10 was ultimately the difference between the two sides.

And defend they did. Rain delays and revised scores made for a compelling contest and in the end Khan’s 4-23 and Naveen Ul-Haq’s 4-26 was just, just enough to get them home. A mission made easier by Bangladesh having one eye on an improbable quick-fire chase that could get them into the semis and made the chase more complex than it should have been.

But take nothing away from Afghanistan. They bowled and fielded their lives depended on it and at the end you could see how much it meant to them all.

But it might have come at a cost. The tournament's top runscorer, Afghan keeper-batsman Rahmanullah Gurbaz got injured while fielding. If it was cramp after some hard running when he was batting, he’ll be fine. Anything else and you never know. He’ll be a big loss if he doesn’t make it.

Possible XI: Gurbaz/Zazai, I Zadran, Omarzai, Naib, Nabi, Janat, Rashid, Kharote, Ahmad, Ul-Haq, Farooqi.

Pitch and conditions

It seems a bit odd to be playing here in Tarouba given how little we’ve seen of this track.

West Indies posted and defended 149 against New Zealand, Afghanistan chased PNG’s 96 with ease, New Zealand dismissed Uganda for just 40, and the Kiwis then chased PNG’s 79 without breaking sweat.

So with quite a few matches involving poor batting sides against good bowling ones, it’s hard to know what a good score is batting first. Maybe 155?

Afghanistan will prefer to bat first and defend whatever they post with everything but they can’t afford to be as passive with the bat as they were against the Tigers.

South Africa vs Afghanistan Odds

South Africa are 1/3. In their favour is pound-for-pound a stronger XI, an unbeaten record at this tournament, more power with the bat and a 2-0 winning record on the head-to-head in T20Is, though the last time they played was back in 2016 so of limited relevance.

Afghanistan are 23/10. They’ve shown great guts and great skill with the ball and have Rashid in the form of his life but you think they’ll need to bat first to have a chance. If Gurbaz doesn’t play, that’s a big loss they may struggle to overcome, too.

If they’re a similar price in-play and bat first, they might be worth a punt. If SA bat first it could be game over.

Tournament Top Wicket-Taker (Under T20 WC Outrights)

Fazalhaq Farooqi is 13/5 to be Afghanistan Top Runscorer in this match but Rashid Khan (16/5) and Naveen Ul-Haq (100/30) will be tough men to beat here.

Instead, I’ll go with Farooqi to hold onto his position as the tournament’s top wicket-taker at 9/2. He’s currently on 16 with India’s Arshdeep Singh on 15, Rashid on 14 and Jasprit Bumrah on 11, from those still in the tournament.

It’s very possible that Arshdeep and India get knocked out by England and he (Arshdeep) only has the semi to add to his wicket-tally. Let’s say Arshdeep takes one, as does Farooq, and they’re both knocked out; Farooq would still be ahead. Given a win here, not impossible, and Farooq would have yet another match to take wickets. If Afghanistan get knocked out, Rashid wouldn’t have a chance to take more wickets, either.

I’ve noticed how often the front-runner stays ahead in these sorts of competitions and Farooq can be the latest to do so.

South Africa Top Batsman

Time to return to our old friend Heinrich Klassen. We’ve won on him once and lost on him once.

Regular readers of this column will know the arguments in his favour: he’s a class player, can score very quickly, wins this betting heat more often than his odds suggest and is up against something of a struggling batting line-up.

We’d rather he batted at four than five (Stubbs has been batting ahead of him) but coming in at 5 hasn’t stopped him from winning this in the past. 11/2 is bigger than his normal price so he’s bet given what we know about him.

You can check out all the latest Cricket Odds from all the matches Betfred cover over on betfred.com

Jamie Pacheco predominantly covers Cricket for us at Betfred Insights. You can check out his Cricket Betting Tips, along with those from the rest of the team, at our Cricket hub page...

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