March 20, 2016

MUMBAI, India (AP) South Africa avoided another bowling nightmare to revive its World Twenty20 campaign and beat inexperienced Afghanistan by 37 runs in the Group 1 match on Sunday.

Chasing South Africa's daunting 209-5, opener Mohammad Shahzad smashed 44 off just 19 balls before medium-fast Chris Morris grabbed 4-27 to dismiss Afghanistan for 172 in 20 overs.

''We need to be a lot better, it's as simple as that,'' said South Africa captain Faf du Plessis, who won the toss and chose to bat. ''It's a big challenge for the bowlers ... I guess we are a bit soft in our execution which we need to improve on.''

AB de Villiers had earlier capitalized on two dropped catches to hit 64 off 29 balls. Left-handed opener Quinton de Kock made 45 and du Plessis contributed 41.

South Africa lost the first match against England, which chased down a WT20 record 230-8 at the same venue on Friday to win by two wickets. It was Afghanistan's second loss in succession after it was beaten by defending champions Sri Lanka at Kolkata.

Shahzad followed the England-style run rampage when he smashed five sixes and three fours in the first three overs from fast bowlers Kagiso Rabada and Kyle Abbott as South Africa rested its frontline fast bowler Dale Steyn and included David Wiese, who went for 0-47.

Morris cut short the cricketing carnage and knocked back the middle stump of Shahzad, before following it up with the wicket of captain Asghar Stanikzai. He returned to clean bowl Rashid Khan and Dawlat Zadran in his last over.

The South African pace proved too much for Afghanistan's middle-order batsmen as they kept losing wickets with wicketkeeper de Kock holding onto four catches and also stumping Noor Ali Zadran.

''This experience will be good for us,'' Stanikzai said. ''Shahzad started well but unfortunately we gave some quick wickets and that's why we lost the match.''

Earlier, de Kock and du Plessis set the pace of the South Africa innings by adding 65 off 42 balls after Hashim Amla was dismissed in the third over.

Afghanistan came back briefly when du Plessis was run out in the 10th over and two overs later de Kock was caught behind.

De Villiers took his time to settle down and Samiullah Shenwari twice dropped him - on 26 and 35 - before the batsman launched a brutal counter-attack which saw South Africa scoring 78 runs in the last five overs.

De Villiers lofted 17-year Rashid Khan for four sixes and a four in the 17th over which cost the leg-spinner 29 runs before he holed out in the deep in the next over.

JP Duminy (29) and David Miller (19) ensured South Africa crossed the 200-run mark when they hit medium fast Dawlat Zadran for 20 runs in the last over.

''Two dropped catches off de Villiers and conceding around 50 runs in the two overs at the end made the difference,'' Shahzad said.

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