The stakes are higher for Afghanistan, who, along with Pakistan and New Zealand, are vying for the fourth spot with eight points each. Only a victory against South Africa will keep them in contention, given their inferior net run rate.
Regardless of the outcome, Afghanistan have gained respect for their mature play, securing four wins out of eight games.They now believe in their ability to triumph against the best, evident in their victories over England and Pakistan.Afghanistan captain Hasmatullah Shahidi will look to capitalize on South Africa’s tentative chasing and their spinners’ ability to exploit this weakness. While spin has traditionally been their strength, the team now expects breakthroughs from their pacers as well.
Despite South Africa’s strong batting performance when batting first, the Afghanistan lineup has matured, with players like Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah and Shahidi himself adapting to various situations.
On the South African side, Quinton de Kock has been in stellar form, but skipper Temba Bavuma needs to find his rhythm. With the opportunity against Afghanistan, Bavuma aims to lead from the front before the crucial semifinals.
David Miller, a top finisher, seeks to peak in the World Cup, and left-arm pacer Marco Jansen aims to improve his economy rate.
The Proteas rely on left-spinner Keshav Maharaj in the middle overs, but the inclusion of Tabraiz Shamsi, known for releasing pressure in the middle of a spell, remains uncertain.
(With PTI inputs)