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Awaited Clash: South Africa vs Afghanistan in T20 World Cup 2024 Semifinal

The cricketing world is gearing up for a historic face-off as South Africa and Afghanistan prepare to battle for a coveted spot in the T20 World Cup final. This semi-final match, set for Wednesday, June 26, promises to be an electrifying encounter given the stakes—both teams are vying for a maiden appearance in the championship round.

South Africa enters the semi-final stage after a long hiatus of ten years, bringing with them an air of determination and resilience. Under the leadership of Aiden Markram, the Proteas have been an indomitable force in this tournament. They have won all three of their Super 8 games in Group A, marking a clean sweep that makes them not only the group leaders but also the only team in this year’s competition to have secured victories in all seven of their matches. These impeccable performances have positioned them as strong favorites to clinch their first-ever World Cup final berth.

Afghanistan, on the other hand, is riding high on the waves of history and hope. Led by the mercurial Rashid Khan, the Afghan side secured their place in the semi-final after triumphing over Bangladesh via the DLS method in their last Super 8 game. The journey to their maiden semi-final has been nothing short of sensational; they pulled off stunning upsets against heavyweights Australia and New Zealand, showcasing their capability to take on the best and emerge victorious.

The much-anticipated match will be held at the Brian Lara Stadium in Tarouba, Trinidad. Cricket aficionados worldwide will tune in at 06:00 AM IST on Thursday, June 27 (08:30 PM Local Time on June 26) to catch this thrilling clash. The event will be broadcast live on Star Sports, with streaming available on the Disney+ Hotstar website and app.

Historical records provide an intriguing backdrop to this fixture. Afghanistan and South Africa have squared off against each other only twice in T20 World Cup history, with both encounters ending in comfortable victories for the Proteas—in 2010 and 2016 respectively.

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Revisiting their last encounter in the 2016 T20 World Cup at the Wankhede Stadium, South Africa’s batting powerhouses, Quinton de Kock and AB de Villiers, posted a massive total of 209 runs while batting first. Despite Afghanistan’s commendable effort, particularly by their openers Mohammad Shahzad and Noor Ali Zadran, who added a quick-fire 52 runs for the first wicket, they fell short. A stellar bowling performance, especially by Chris Morris who claimed four wickets, sealed a decisive win for the South Africans, restricting Afghanistan to 172 runs.

In view of these dynamics, both teams have announced their predicted playing XI for the upcoming clash. South Africa’s squad is likely to feature Reeza Hendricks, Quinton de Kock (wk), Aiden Markram (c), Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Tristan Stubbs, Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, and Tabraiz Shamsi. This line-up boasts a balanced combination of explosive hitters and adept bowlers, reflecting South Africa’s strategy to dominate in all facets of the game.

Afghanistan’s probable line-up includes Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Ibrahim Zadran, Gulbadin Naib, Azmatullah Omarzai, Mohammad Nabi, Karim Janat, Rashid Khan (c), Nangeyalia Kharote, Noor Ahmad, Naveen-ul-Haq, and Fazalhaq Farooqi. With a blend of youthful exuberance and seasoned campaigners, this Afghan side will be looking to continue their giant-killing run in the tournament.

While statistics and form book might tilt in favor of the South Africans, Afghanistan’s tenacity and never-say-die attitude mean that they are capable of turning the tables on any given day. Commentators and analysts are eagerly speculating how the strategic nuances between Markram’s leadership and Rashid Khan’s captaincy will play out on the grand stage.

This semi-final isn’t just a match; it’s an emblem of emerging cricketing powerhouses challenging traditional giants. As the two teams set to face each other after an eight-year hiatus, the cricketing community waits with bated breath to see who will step into the final of the T20 World Cup 2024. Will it be South Africa’s consistency or Afghanistan’s spirited run that triumphs? The answer awaits at the Brian Lara Stadium.