‘A Massive Squad Effort’: South Africa’s Historic Path To Elusive T20 World Cup Final

Published 20 days ago
By Forbes Africa | Nick Said
South Africa v Afghanistan: Semi-Final – ICC Men’s T20 Cricket World Cup West Indies & USA 2024
Tabraiz Shamsi of South Africa celebrates after dismissing Karim Janat of Afghanistan (not pictured) LBW during the ICC Men's T20 Cricket World Cup West Indies & USA 2024 Semi-Final match between South Africa and Afghanistan at Brian Lara Cricket Academy on June 26, 2024 in Tarouba, Trinidad And Tobago. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Finally, since their first semifinal in 1992 and after 32 years of disappointment, South Africa have got over the line.  

Seven semifinal heartbreaks later and South Africa have finally made it to the decider of a World Cup as they demolished Afghanistan by nine wickets on Thursday to set up a meeting with either India or England in the final of the T20 global showpiece event.

Asked to bowl first at the Brian Lara Stadium in Barbados, the Proteas skittled their opponents for a paltry 56, an innings where Extras was the top-scorer with 13 and only Azmatullah Omarzai (10) made it to double figures among the batters.

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Marco Jansen of South Africa celebrates with teammates after dismissing Nangyal Kharoti of Afghanistan (not pictured) during the ICC Men’s T20 Cricket World Cup West Indies & USA 2024 Semi-Final match between South Africa and Afghanistan at Brian Lara Cricket Academy on June 26, 2024 in Tarouba, Trinidad And Tobago. (Photo by Matthew Lewis-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

Wrist-spinner Tabraiz Shamsi (3-6) cleaned up the tail, but the damage was done up front by fast bowlers Marco Jansen (3-16), Kagiso Rabada (2-14) and Anrich Nortje (2-7).

It was never a total that was going to worry the South Africans and they reached their target for the loss of one wicket in 8.5 overs.  

One more victory in Saturday’s final and South Africa will become the first ever side to go through a T20 World Cup unbeaten and lift a trophy that has proven frustratingly elusive in the past.

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“It feels good, it was a massive squad effort,” Proteas captain Aiden Markram said at the post-match presentation. “I’m really chuffed for us to have one more crack at lifting the trophy.

“We were fortunate to have lost that toss, we also would’ve batted. The bowlers got it in the right areas and kept it really simple in these conditions. It’s quite tough for batters but we knew it was a matter of building a partnership (in the chase).”

South Africa had been to five semifinals in the 50-over World Cup, the most recent last year in India, and to two in the T20 version, and fallen short on each occasion through a mixture of weather woes, poor decisions, bad luck and being outplayed.

Finally, since their first semifinal in 1992 and after 32 years of disappointment, they have got over the line.  

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“There are a lot of people waking up (in South Africa) with a little bit more grey hair, but this win will be comforting for them. We’ve never been to the final before, but there’s a lot of belief,” Markram said.