#ProteaFire rekindled

A celebratory moment in the SA v AFG match on Saturday [image: Cricket SA/Twitter]

The prayer for the rekindling of the #ProteaFire was answered. Their recent victory may be just what they needed to squeeze them into the playoffs.

After their third consecutive loss, the Proteas had to ensure they won their remaining games against New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Australia to make it to the playoffs.

The pressure was on in their fourth match on 10 June against West Indies, but after only 7.2 overs, a rain delay was announced. The match was later abandoned due to the unrelenting wet weather conditions. The good news was that each side was awarded a point, meaning South Africa was still in the running.

On Saturday they went up against Afghanistan in Cardiff and opted to bowl first. The rain tried to get in the way on two occasions, but thankfully it did not cause for the match to be abandoned. However, the time lost meant that the overs had to be reduced to 48 per side.

This was no problem for the South African team who proceeded to play a good game. After play resumed post the second halt, Afghanistan were up by 69 runs and had lost two batsmen to Kagiso Rabada and Chris Morris.

The Proteas barely gave them a chance to advance. Andile Phehlukwayo brought the score to 69/3 in the 20th over, then Imran Tahir took two wickets in the next over.

Phehlukwayo returned to claim his second wicket, making the score 70/6. Tahir was brought back in in the 25th over and toppled another wicket on his second ball. The final wicket was also his, Afghanistan was all out at 125 runs in 33.5 overs.

South Africa needed 127 runs to win. Hashim Alma and Quinton De Kock were a powerful duo, reaching a century without casualty. However, after 68 runs, De Kock was the first and last to walk, making the score 104/1. The Proteas won by nine wickets with a final score of 131/1 in 28.4 overs.

Tahir was, unsurprisingly, named Man of the Match after his brilliant performance.

So far in the World Cup he has claimed eight wickets and Phehlukwayo is not far behind with six wickets. The top wicket taker in the tournament is Mohammad Amir from Pakistan with 13 wickets.

The Proteas will face New Zealand in Edgbaston on Wednesday at 11:30.