SOUTH AFRICA EYE MOMENTUM: South Africa would seek a comprehensive win against Afghanistan at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday to keep their chances alive of qualifying for the semi-final play-offs from Group One. The Proteas lost on Friday to England partially due to a magnificent 44-run 83 by Joe Root, but also because of a horror-show by the South African fast bowlers, who conceded 165 runs in 12.4 overs as a unit.
POST MORTEM: South Africa left their inner ring largely unmanned on Friday against England and virtually gave them six runs an over. The fast bowlers were disappointing. Dale Steyn is considered a world-class bowler who possesses the X-factor, but he operated without intensity and any zip. Chris Morris lacked variety and was off the boil. Expect two changes in the bowling attack, with David Wiese and Aaron Phangiso to replace Steyn and Morris.
BRAVE NEW WORLD: South Africa's mind-set is a problem. The Proteas should not select players simply because they have great reputations. New Zealand showed the way when they dropped a world-class swing bowler, Trent Boult, but picked the unknown Mitchell Santner, and he awarded them with two match-winning performances as left-arm spinner.
WIESE-FACTOR: David Wiese is a seam bowler who operates with the same variety as Dwayne Bravo of the West Indies. He uses the slower cutters very well and captured 16 wickets in the Indian Premier League last year for the Royal Challengers Bangalore. He might be the apt choice to replace Chris Morris. We will see soon.
SA APPROACH: South Africa could still atone for the painful two wicket-loss against England. In the Cricket World Cup in 2015, they comprehensively beat the West Indies and Sri Lanka on their way to the semi-finals. And they should account for Afghanistan today at the Wankhede Stadium today to get back on track. So there is no reason why the shell-shocked Proteas cannot bounce back with a bang.
SA TO BAT FIRST: South Africa won the toss and elected to bat. David Wiese has been included and Dale Steyn misses out in the only change to the South African line-up against Afghanistan.
STEYN DROP: Many observers would be shocked that Dale Steyn, who has taken 406 wickets in test cricket, was dropped from the T20-team, but it is understandable. Steyn was out with a shoulder injury for more than six weeks. Wiese has been a standout-bowler in the T20-format, and captured 5-23 against the West Indies in January 2015. That could be a wake-up call for Steyn.
PHANGISO-FACTOR: The question will be asked why Aaron Phangiso was not selected as second spinner. The fact that there was a question mark over the legality of his action and that he needed rehabilitation, was a definite factor in the decision made not to pick him for the final X1 against Afghanistan.
BATTING STRIP: The batting strip at the Wankhede Stadium is the best so far in the ICC World Twenty20, and Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla might continue their boundary-bashing which saw them blast 96 runs in 7.1 overs against England. Both struck half-centuries on Friday.
AFGHANISTAN TEAM: M.
Shahzad, N Zadran, A Stanikzai, G Naib, M Nabi, S Shenwari, N Zadran, R Khan, A
Hamza, D Zadran, S Zadran. Shapoor Zadran gets a game for Afghanistan and might get some bounce to unsettle South Africa.
PLENTY SA FLAGS: There are plenty of passionate support for South Africa with supporters waving flags during the singing of the anthems. AB de Villiers has got a big smile on his face while the anthem is being sung. Perhaps he is looking forward to a massive contribution with the blade.
ZADRAN:The swing bowler Dawlat Zadran is looking like a useful bowler as he gets some shape and swings the ball. Quinton de Kock struck a four through mid-wicket off an almost perfect Yorker from Dawlat, which just underlines the type of form in which the stylish left-hander is right now.
OUT: Hashim Amla is caught by the skipper at mid-off off Shapoor Zadran for five. It was a slower delivery and South Africa slips to 25 for one.
DECISION WITH FAF: South Africa has made an interesting decision to send in Faf du Plessis at number three ahead of AB de Villiers, but it makes sense, as De Villiers could be very destructive in the middle-period and at the business-end of the innings, while Faf can use the pace of the ball in the power play to hit fours.
FAF ACCELERATES: Faf du Plessis has manipulated the crease well against the spinner Mohammad Nabi, hitting two fours. The last, over mid-off was a splendid effort. South Africa cannot afford a slow start in the power play. South Africa is on 38 for one after four overs.
SHOT: Dawlat Zadran bowls a good first delivery, but Quinton de Kock just blasts it over mid-on for six. It is very difficult to bowl to him. The second one goes over cover for another maximum. That was the best shot of the day. That is sensational class! South Africa goes to 62-1 in 5.3 overs.
GOOD POWER PLAY: South Africa hammered 66 runs in the power play. Quinton de Kock has been the pick, hitting 38 runs off 18 balls. Rashid Khan, a 17-year old leg-spinner, is now into the attack. He possesses a good googly, so his duel with De Kock would be very interesting.
LEG-SPIN MYSTERY: The Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan is all arms and legs when he gets into his bowling stride, but he bowls a splendid first over. His googly had Quinton de Kock in a bit of trouble, and South Africa only managed two runs in that over.
ONE-HANDED BRILLIANCE: Faf du Plessis hit a six off the spinner over extra cover with just one hand, bringing up the 50-partnership off 29 balls with Quinton de Kock. The Afghan-spinners, though, are restricting the run-rate. Faf and Quinton need more urgency and more pressure on the slow bowlers.
SOUTH AFRICA TO 92 FOR TWO: Afghanistan has used their spinners effectively from the fifth to the 10th over and South Africa has moved to 92 for two. Quinton de Kock is struggling to reach the boundary ropes against the slower men, and will have to find a way against them, while AB de Villiers will have to pull out the heavy artillery.
LEG-SPINNERS TROUBLE: South Africa's batsmen are having trouble reading the variations of the leg-spin duo of Rashid Khan and Samiullah Shenwari, and they will have to get on top of them soon. Troubling signs for South Africa.
SA UNDER SCRUTINY: South Africa requires more boundary-urgency, especially from AB de Villiers, now that JP Duminy has walked to the crease. Duminy is slow at the infancy stage of the innings, and South Africa has score only 110 runs in the first 13 overs. The bare minimum would be 200 on this batsman's paradise.
RASHID'S HAND-OUTS: Rashid Khan has gifted South Africa two fours in his third over with full tosses. He is only 17 years of age and his bowling action makes it difficult for anyone to read him. He has a bit of a whirlwind, strange even weird run-up and it is all legs and arms, but his length is generally good. South Africa moves to 122 for three.
AB DROPPED: Samiullah Senwari drops AB de Villiers off his own bowling on 26. It was high and slightly to his left, but that was almost a regulation drop. South Africa is on 131 for three. JP Duminy needs to get out of first gear and start hitting boundaries. His tendency to focus on singles is alarming. A score of 180 is not enough on a placid pitch.