MUMBAI, March 20: South Africa brought their ICC World T20 campaign back on track after the stunning loss to England two days ago when they subdued a fighting Afghanistan by 37 runs at the Wankhede Stadium here today.
The Proteas, who posted a record-high score of 229 for 4 that was overhauled by England in a thrilling fashion for the loss of eight wickets, became the first team in World T20 history to post a second 200-plus score in the same edition when they rattled up 209 for five wickets against the minnows.
South Africa then bowled out Afghanistan for 172 in 20 overs to emerge victorious after the minnows were given an electric start by opener Mohammad Shahzad with a 19-ball 44, which was studded with five sixes and three fours.
It was South Africa�s first win in two games in the Super 10 Group 1 round robin league after the first game loss to England.
Lanky pacer Chris Morris led the South African bowling charge by grabbing 4 for 27 while leggie Imran Tahir also impressed with 2 for 24.
The defeat, the second suffered by Afghanistan after their six-wicket loss to Sri Lanka on March 17 at Kolkata, has virtually ended their hopes of advancing to the semi finals.
They have two games to play � against England (March 23 at Delhi) and West Indies (March 27 at Nagpur).
South Africa, with two points from as many games, travel to Nagpur to clash with the West Indies on March 25 before concluding their league engagements against Sri Lanka at the Kotla in Delhi on March 28, the final match of the Super 10 stage of the tournament.
Today the Proteas, who elected to bat, would have been pleased with the way De Villiers blazed his way to his eighth T20 half century in his inimitable style to help South Africa muscle their way to their second 200-plus score on the trot.
After a quick-fire 40s from opener Quinton de Kock (45 in 31 balls) and captain Faf du Plessis (41 in 27 balls), A B de Villiers smashed five sixes and four fours while making 64 in 29 balls and adding 76 in 35 balls with Jean Paul Duminy (29 not out) for the fourth wicket in 35 balls.
De Villiers, who missed out on scoring big in the high-scoring game won by England here and was reprieved twice, struck four huge sixes and a four in one over from leggie Samiullah Shenwari, in the process reaching his 50 in 24 balls, before getting out.
South Africa had raced to 66 in the first six power play overs before spin bowling arrested their progress considerably. De Kock, who notched up 52 against England, set the tone with five hits to the fence in the first two overs.
Amla, who made 58 against England, hit Shapoor Zadran for a four before spooning a drive straight to mid-off in the third over.
Skipper Faf du Plessis showed his aggressive intent and quickly got into his groove with a flurry of fours to take over the attacking reins from de Kock after the latter had hit two sixes off Dawlat Zadran in the fourth over.
South Africa: Quinton de Kock c Shahzad b Hamza 45, Hashim Amla c Stanikzai b Zadran 5, Faf du Plessis run out 41, AB de Villiers c Zadran b Nabi 64, JP Duminy not out 29, David Miller c Naib b Zadran 19, David Wiese not out 0. Extras: (LB-2 W-4) 6. Total: (For 5 wkts 20 overs) 209. Fall of wickets: 1-25, 2-90, 3-97, 4-173, 5-203. Bowling: Amir Hamza 3-0-25-1, Dawlat Zadran 3-0-46-1, Shapoor Zadran 3-0-28-1, Mohammad Nabi 4-0-35-1, Rashid Khan 4-0-51-0, Samiullah Shenwari 3-0-22-0.
Afghanistan: Mohammad Shahzad b Morris 44, Noor Ali Zadran st de Kock b Imran Tahir 25, Asghar Stanikzai c de Kock b Morris 7, Gulbadin Naib c de Kock b Abbott 26, Mohammad Nabi c de Villiers b Imran Tahir 11, Samiullah Shenwari c Wiese b Abbott 25, Najibullah Zadran c de Kock b Rabada 12, Rashid Khan b Morris 11, Dawlat Zadran b Morris 0, Amir Hamza not out 3, Shapoor Zadran b Rabada 1. Extras: (lb 1, w 6) 7. Total: (all out; 20 overs) 172. Fall of wickets: 1-52, 2-60, 3-105, 4-109, 5-140, 6-156, 7-156, 8-167, 9-169, 10-172. Bowling: K Rabada 4-0-37-2, KJ Abbott 4-0-36-2, CH Morris 4-0-27-4, Imran Tahir 4-0-24-2, D Wiese 4-0-47-0. � PTI