SA vs AFG: South Africa break World Cup semi-final jinx after 32 years
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SA vs AFG: South Africa break World Cup semi-final jinx after 32 years

T20 World Cup 2024: Aiden Markram's South Africa beat Afghanistan by 9 wickets on Thursday at the Brian Lara Stadium in Tarouba and advanced to their maiden final of an ICC event.

For South Africa, Thursday was memorable as they made their way through to their maiden final in an ICC World Cup. Aiden Markram’s men hammered Rashid Khan’s Afghanistan by 9 wickets at the Brian Lara Stadium in Tarouba, Trinidad to advance to the T20 World Cup 2024 final. After being asked to bowl, they shot the Afghans out for 56 in 11.5 overs, after which they chased down the target with more than 10 overs left in their innings.

It all started with their 19-run defeat to England at the Sydney Cricket Ground due to the dreaded and controversial rain rule when they needed 22 runs off 1 ball. Then in 1999, the Proteas agonisingly missed out against Australia at Edgbaston in Birmingham. Lance Klusener smashed Damien Fleming for back-to-back fours and got them ever so close to an ICC final. But with 1 run needed off 3 balls, Allan Donald was left ball-watching as he was run out at the striker’s end after a terrible mix-up with Klusener, whose unbeaten 31-run went in vain.

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SA vs AFG: South Africa break World Cup semi-final jinx after 32 years

The other time they got close was in 2009 when they faltered against Pakistan at Trent Bridge in Nottingham in the T20 World Cup semis, losing by 7 runs. After being asked to chase down 149, South Africa finished with 142 for 5 despite Jacques Kallis’ 64 and JP Duminy’s unbeaten 44. In the ODI World Cup 2023, they also got close, but lost to Pat Cummins’ Australia at the Eden Gardens.

In fact, the Proteas have always found Australia a tough opponent in semis, losing 3 times. Come 2024, South Africa have looked dominating as they have won 8 matches in a row in the T20 World Cup. They had to fight hard against the Netherlands, Bangladesh, Nepal and the West Indies, but somehow found a way to get out of jail.

Very few gave South Africa a chance to win the title given their indifferent history in knockout matches. However, the Proteas have upped their game and are only one win short of winning their first ICC trophy. Markram was over the moon after his team qualified for the final for the first time after hammering the Afghans.

“We've never been there [final] before, but there's a lot of belief. It takes a full squad to put together a really good game of cricket," Markram said after the match.

South Africa will have their task cut out as they will face either England or India in the final. England will be desperate to get their hands on the trophy and make amends after their disastrous campaign in the ODI World Cup. India, on the other hand, will be looking to win an ICC trophy for the first time since 2013 after losing 2 finals since then.

Moreover, no unbeaten team has ever won the T20 World Cup 2024. Hence, it goes without saying that the Proteas need to take care of some odds that may not be in their favour in the final. 

Source: India Today

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