World T20: De Villiers powers South Africa to 209/5 against Afghanistan

Mumbai, March 20 (IANS) South Africa’s swashbuckling batsman AB de Villiers smashed 64 runs off just 29 balls to steer his team to 209/5 in 20 overs against a low-key Afghanistan side in their second Group 1 clash of the World Twenty20 cricket tournament at the Wankhede Stadium here on Sunday.

En route his hard-hitting innings, the right-handed batsman struck four boundaries and five massive sixes.

Opting to bat, South Africa were given a flying start by openers Quinton de Kock (45) and Hashim Amla (5), scoring 21 runs off the first two overs.

But Amla’s stay at the crease was cut short as, while trying to hit the ball over the covers, the right-handed batsman chipped it straight to Asghar Stanikzai at mid-off off the bowling of Shapoor Zadran to have team at 25/1 inside three overs.

But Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis (41) played positively along with De Kock to help team post 66 runs after the powerplay.

Du Plessis, who struck seven boundaries and a six, was becoming a threat to Afghan bowlers. He was run out when Mohammad Nabi came up with a good effort in the field which was followed by an electrifying throw to wicket-keeper Mohammad Shahzad who removed the bails easily to catch Du Plessis short of the crease.

Th Proteas received a double blow as another set batsman De Kock after smacking six fours r and two sixes in his 31-ball innings nicked it to keeper off the bowling off Amir Hamza to have South Africa at 97/3 in 12th over.

Next up, it was an entirely de Villiers show as after he took a bit of time to settle down. Finally, he exposed himself smacking leg-spinner Rashid Khan off 29 runs in 17th over which included four sixes, one four and a single to bring up his eighth T20I half-century in just 24 balls.

De Villiers and his partner Jean-Paul Duminy (29 not out) struck 76-run partnership for the fourth wicket to take team past 150-run mark.

But with the dismissal of De Villiers in the 18th over, Duminy and David Miller (19) ensured team got past 200-run mark.

Shapoor Zadran, Dawlat Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Amir Hamza claimed one wicket each for Afghanistan.

Brief scores: South Africa 209/5 in 20 overs (AB de Villiers 64, Quinton de Kock 45, Faf du Plessis 41; Amir Hamza 1/25, Shapoor Zadran 1/28, Mohammad Nabi 1/35, Dawlat Zadran 1/46)

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