The Van der Dussen Effect: Leading South Africa’s Chase to Victory

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240
SA vs NZ

In a thrilling encounter on Friday (November 10), Rassie van der Dussen showcased his batting prowess with a measured unbeaten fifty, scoring 76 runs off 95 balls. His stellar performance paved the way for South Africa in a tricky chase against Afghanistan, resulting in a five-wicket victory in Ahmedabad. Tasked with pursuing a modest target of 245, South Africa faced a challenging test from Afghanistan’s formidable spinners. Nevertheless, van der Dussen anchored the innings, receiving valuable support from the middle order. This victory marked a significant turning point for South Africa in the World Cup, demonstrating their ability to execute a convincing run chase under pressure.

The Proteas’ innings kicked off with a rapid start, courtesy of Quinton de Kock’s explosive batting. Despite skipper Temba Bavuma battling through an injury and lacking fluency in his innings, the 64-run partnership provided the necessary momentum for South Africa in their chase. However, Afghanistan’s spinners, as anticipated, staged a comeback. Both openers fell in quick succession, and while van der Dussen held his ground confidently, his partners couldn’t sustain their starts. Aiden Markram, in fine form, fell victim to a rash shot, while Heinrich Klaasen was outdone by a delivery of quality from the exceptional Rashid Khan. The ebb and flow of the innings highlighted the challenging contest between the South African batsmen and Afghanistan’s spin prowess.

Despite the rising dew levels, Afghanistan’s spinners persisted in challenging the South African batters. Rassie van der Dussen found a valuable ally in David Miller, as they put together a crucial 43-run partnership. However, when Miller fell victim to Mohammad Nabi’s prowess, becoming another left-hander on the hitlist, South Africa still required 63 runs with half of their side back in the pavilion. The possibility of an Afghan heist was extinguished by Andile Phehlukwayo, who played a decisive innings, scoring a quick 39 off 37 balls. Phehlukwayo’s aggressive batting not only turned the tables but also shifted the pressure back onto the bowling side, ultimately steering South Africa towards a well-deserved victory.

With van der Dussen maintaining his composed approach, Phehlukwayo played the role of the ideal aggressive partner as the two batsmen successfully navigated the chase. Although Afghanistan managed to make the pursuit challenging, they were aware that the posted score fell short by about 30-35 runs of a par total. Despite the Narendra Modi Stadium providing a decent batting surface, Afghanistan’s batters struggled to apply themselves, lacking clarity against South Africa’s pace attack and succumbing to a brilliantly accurate spell from Keshav Maharaj. Wickets fell at regular intervals, and at one point, a meager total seemed likely. Azmatullah Omarzai, however, played a pivotal role, delivering a career-best ODI performance with a classy 97 runs off 107 balls, rescuing Afghanistan from a precarious situation and showcasing his impressive form in the tournament.

Azmatullah Omarzai played a crucial role in Afghanistan’s recovery, stitching together two invaluable partnerships with Rashid Khan and Noor Ahmad. Overcoming a precarious situation at 116/6, Afghanistan managed to post a respectable total of 244 on the board. Omarzai displayed composure, anchoring the innings and later playing expansive strokes towards the end. Noor Ahmad’s cameo further bolstered the lower order as Afghanistan once again staged a fightback against South Africa.

Omarzai appeared poised for his maiden ODI century, but a brilliant 50th over from Kagiso Rabada denied him the milestone. Gerald Coetzee was the star with the ball, securing a four-wicket haul, while Keshav Maharaj and others contributed effectively to restrict Afghanistan.

Heading into the chase, all eyes were on South Africa’s performance in this tricky situation, but they successfully passed the test with a fair degree of comfort.

Match Summary: Afghanistan 244 in 50 overs (Azmatullah Omarzai 97*, Noor Ahmad 26; Gerald Coetzee 4-44, Keshav Maharaj 2-25) lost to South Africa 247/5 in 47.3 overs (Rassie van der Dussen 76*, Quinton de Kock 41, Andile Phehlukwayo 39*; Mohammad Nabi 2-35, Rashid Khan 2-37) by five wickets