South Africa: Faf - No 'Minnows' in World Cricket Anymore

(file photo).

Cardiff — If South Africa underestimated Bangladesh in their 21-run loss at The Oval back on June 2, they will make no such mistake against Afghanistan at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff on Saturday.

That Bangladesh result seriously upset the Proteas' charge at the World Cup, to the point where they are now facing a mammoth, seemingly impossible run to the semi-finals.

The losses to England and India were expected on some level, but the Bangladesh upset is the one that really hurt.

If South Africa stand any chance of making the playoffs, they cannot afford a slip-up against Afghanistan.

Even a weather-induced 'no result' would threaten to bring the curtain down on their campaign.

Faf du Plessis , who acknowledges that this has been one of the most testing times of his Proteas captaincy, is making sure that there is no complacency at all creeping in ahead of a clash against the side considered to be the worst, on paper at least, at the World Cup.

"I think what's clear in the world of cricket now is that you can't call teams minnows anymore," Du Plessis said.

"You can't call them weaker sides because they have the ability and the players in their dressing room to change a game.

"You need two or three guys in any game to stand up and win you a game, and they've got those players. Obviously, Rashid Khan is probably the standout for them in the fact that he's proven in T20 cricket that he's probably the best leg spinner in the world in T20 cricket.

"In 50-over cricket, it gives him a bit more time, but you also don't have to attack him as much as you do in one-day cricket."

Khan is a massive weapon for Afghanistan, and his 2/17 from 7.5 overs in a losing cause against Sri Lanka proved as much.

"It's really important for us to make sure that the learnings from the players who have played against him in the IPL, that we share that knowledge in the dressing room and just make sure we annihilate that threat," added Du Plessis.

"If he bowls and he's not getting wickets, then it gives us an opportunity to make sure that we can get some players towards other bowlers.

"When they come into the game is when he gets on a roll and he gets two or three, or four or five in quick succession, which he has the skills to do."

Play on Saturday gets underway at 14:30 (SA time) and it will be the first time South Africa has ever faced Afghanistan in an ODI.

@LloydBurnard is in England covering the 2019 Cricket World Cup for Sport24 ...

Source: Sport24

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