South Africa finally got a World Cup win under their belts as they eased to a nine-wicket triumph over Afghanistan on Saturday to keep alive their hopes of reaching the semi-finals.
Leg-spinner Imran Tahir took 4-29, engineering an Afghani collapse after a 75-minute rain break as they were dismissed for 125. Chris Morris contributed with figures of 3-13 and Andile Phehlukwayo took two wickets.
The South Africans set about chasing a slightly adjusted target of 127 from 48 overs in cautious fashion, reaching 131-1 with 19 overs to spare.
Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock shared a 104-run opening wicket partnership before De Kock was dismissed for 68.
Amla finished on 41 not out and Phehlukwayo hit a six for the winning runs to end unbeaten on 17.
After three defeats and another game called off because of rain, Saturday’s match was always going to be a big chance for Faf du Plessis’ South Africa team to get their first win.
But they still looked sloppy in the opening overs as Afghanistan dealt well with the new ball and were 69-2 when the teams went off for rain.
When they came back, however, they lost four wickets for the addition of one run in two overs, with Phehlukwayo taking the wicket of Mohammad Nabi and Tahir striking with his first delivery as he bowled Noor Ali Zadran for 32.
Tahir claimed a second victim four balls later and the wickets tumbled regularly after that.
“We planned a lot for their seamers but not so much for him and credit must go to Imran for his spell. He bowled very well in the right areas,” Afghanistan captain Gulbadin Naib said.
A cameo of 35 from Rashid Khan took Afghanistan into three figures before he became Tahir’s fourth victim.
“I knew I wouldn't get it to turn but I tried to vary it and get the batsmen to make mistakes. It came out well and I’m really pleased that I played my part for the team,” said Tahir after being named man of the match.
After their poor start to the tournament, South Africa effectively need to win their remaining four matches, starting with New Zealand in Birmingham on Wednesday, to make the last four.
Afghanistan all out for 125
Imran Tahir's four for 29 and right-arm quick Chris Morris' three for 13 helped South Africa bundle Afghanistan out for a meagre 125 in just 34.1 overs at the Sophia Gardens in Cardiff today.
The match between Afghanistan and South Africa was once again halted due to rain at 3:30 pm local time (8:30 pm Bangladesh time). The match at the Sophia Gardens in Cardiff has been reduced to 48 overs a side. The game is scheduled to resume at 4:35 pm local time (9:35 pm Bangladesh time).
Afghanistan were on 69 for the loss of two wickets at the end of 20 overs before the rain started for the second time in Cardiff.
Noor Ali Zadran 32 (57b)
Hashmatullah Shahidi 8 (18b)
Chris Morris 5-1-13-1
Andile Phehlukwayo 5-0-13-0
Struggling South Africa restricted Afghanistan to 65 for two after 17 overs in their must-win World Cup match in Cardiff on Saturday.
Faf du Plessis's side have endured a torrid campaign so far, losing their first three matches and then picking up one point from a rain-ruined match against the West Indies.
Only Afghanistan, with three defeats in three games, are below them in the 10-team table
Earlier, unfancied Afghanistan made a bright start, reaching 33 without loss when rain temporarily stopped play in the sixth over, with Hazratullah Zazai and Noor Ali Zadran both unbeaten on 16.
After the resumption, Zazai was the first to go, caught by Rassie van der Dussen for 22 off the bowling of paceman Kagiso Rabada before Chris Morris trapped Rahmat Shah in front when he was on six.
South Africa, who were unchanged, won the toss and chose to bowl.
Afghanistan made one change, bringing in former captain Asghar Afghan in place of Najibullah Zadran.
"Chasing when there is rain around generally gives you a better indication of what to do," said Du Plessis. (AFP, Cardiff)
Play resumes after brief break due to rain
The match between Afghanistan and South Africa resumes after a 25-minute delay due to rain in Cardiff.
Match delayed due to rain
Afghanistan scored 33 runs without losing any wickets in 5.5 overs before rain halted the game at the Sophia Gardens in Cardiff.
South Africa opt to bowl against Afghanistan
South Africa have won the toss and elected to bowl first against Afghanistan at the Sophia Gardens in Cardiff today.
The two sides have never met in ODI before. South Africa are yet to register a victory in this edition of World Cup as Faf du Plessis' men lost their first three matches and their last game against West Indies was also washed out due to rain. With just one poimt from four matches, South Africa will be desperately looking for a win today if they are to have any chance of progressing to the semifinal.
Afghanistan have also lost all the three games that they have played so far in the tournament.
South Africa: Quinton de Kock (wk), Hashim Amla, Aiden Markram, Faf du Plessis (capt), Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada, Beuran Hendricks, Imran Tahir.
Afghanistan: Hazratullah Zazai, Noor Ali Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Asghar Afghan, Gulbadin Naib (capt), Mohammad Nabi, Ikram Alikhil (wk), Rashid Khan, Aftab Alam, Hamid Hassan