A brilliant performance by Shafiqullah Ghafari with the ball and half-centuries from Ibrahim Zadran and Imran Mir ensured Afghanistan U19 started their campaign at the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2020 with a dominant performance against tournament hosts South Africa beating the Proteas by 7 wickets in the tournament opener.
Having won the toss, South Africa were all out for 129 batting first as they struggled to battle a strong Afghan bowling attack. The damage was done early as pacer Fazal Haq Farooqi took two crucial wickets in his first two overs accounting for Andrew Louw and Jonathan Bird. South African skipper Bryce Parsons and Luke Beaufort tried to stabilize the innings for their team with a 55-run stand for the third wicket.
However, the spinning duo of china-man Noor Ahmad and leg-spinner Shafiqullah Ghafari ran through the middle and low order of the South African batting line-up as the Proteas line-up collapsed losing 6 wickets for 34 runs and were eventually all out for 129 in the 30th over.
Ghafari, in particular, was at his best returning match-winning figures of 15/6 which was also the seventh-best in the tournament history.
In response, Afghanistan chased down the relatively below-par target in 25 overs losing 3 wickets in the process. Opening batsman Ibrahim Zadran and youngster Imran Mir scored half-centuries to secure the first victory of the tournament for their team.
Afghanistan will play their next matches in Group D against UAE on 22nd and Canada on 24th January 2020.