South Africa and Afghanistan will contest the 42nd match of the 2023 Cricket World Cup. The Proteas and Afghans currently occupy second and sixth position on the 10-team tournament’s points table.

South Africa have already qualified for the semi-final stage of the competition. Afghanistan remain in nominal contention.

South Africa

The Proteas shook off defeat to the Netherlands by beating England, Bangladesh, Pakistan and New Zealand in succession. They then lost heavily to India. While their spot among the Cricket World Cup semi-finalists is secure, a strong finish to the round-robin stage is required.

Opener Quinton de Kock and middle-order batter Aiden Markram are South Africa’s leading run-scorers at this tournament. De Kock has 550 runs in eight innings to Markram’s 371 in eight. The Proteas require more from captain Temba Bavuma, who is averaging 20.33 with a highest score of 35 at this tournament.

Bowling-wise, South Africa have four wicket-takers in double figures this tournament. Seamers Marco Jansen, Kagiso Rabada and Gerald Coetzee have taken 17, 14 and 12, respectively. Spinner Keshav Maharaj also has 12 wickets – and could be key in Ahmedabad conditions.

Whether South Africa play two specialist spinners in Ahmedabad remains in the balance. Wrist spinner Tabraiz Shamsi has been in and out the XI in India this month and the last – and could be preferred to a seamer here again. Shamsi is among the best left-arm wrist spinners on display this tournament.


Afghanistan strung together consecutive victories over Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Netherlands to impress upon fans and critics alike that they are genuine contenders this tournament. They were on track for victory over Australia, too, until double-centurion Glenn Maxwell quietened that ambition.

Afghanistan will find it tough to lift themselves from that disheartening blow at the hand of Maxwell and company. The turnaround time between defeat to Australia and this match against South Africa is relatively short. The Afghans need to reinspire each other and go again here.

They have five batters with 250-plus runs this tournament – two of those above 300. They have shone collectively and individually – and will need a balance of both to succeed against the Proteas. Opener Ibrahim Zadran is their leading run-scorer this tournament with 361 in eight innings – and should be full of confidence after striking a century against the Aussies.

Leg-spinner Rashid Khan has, rather predictably, emerged as Afghanistan’s leading wicket-taker this World Cup. He has nine wickets in eight innings – and contributed in bursts with the bat as well. The team should demand a lot from their star all-rounder here as well.