De Villiers stars as South Africa beat AfghanistanSport
MUMBAI: South Africa captain Faf du Plessis praised AB de Villiers's “match-changing” half century as South Africa defeated Afghanistan by 37 runs in their World Twenty20 clash in Mumbai on Sunday.
The right-handed batsman scored a quick-fire 64 to propel the Proteas to 209/5 before Chris Morris's four wickets helped restrict Afghanistan to 172 all out on the last ball.
De Villiers smashed five sixes and four fours in his 29-ball knock as South Africa got their bid for a first international trophy back on track after an opening day loss to England.
“He wants to show he's a world-great batsman and I'm hoping today will make him really, really hungry to go out and score massive runs,” du Plessis said of de Villiers.
“Not just to have small impacts of 20 run-bursts but actually have a match-changing impact and today he did that. He played beautifully,” he added.
The skipper also lavished praise on Morris, who was named man of the match after he took four for just 27 in the Super 10 Group One match.
“He bowled with great intensity,” the Proteas captain told reporters.
South Africa won the toss and opted to bat with elegant left-hander Quinton de Kock making 45 off 31 balls, including six fours and two sixes at the Wankhede Stadium.
Du Plessis made a tidy 41, which included seven fours and one six, before being run out in messy fashion in the tenth over but opener Hashim Amla only made five.
South Africa sat on 92/2 at the half-way stage of their innings before de Villiers came in and upped their run-rate, hitting Rashid Khan for an astonishing four sixes in the 17th over.
He was caught by Noor Ali Zadran off Mohammad Nabi near the boundary in the 18th though as he attempted yet another six.
David Miller made 19 while JP Duminy was not out on 29 as South Africa set the Afghans a formidable run-chase of 210.
They made a flying start, racing to 50 in 3.4 overs, as destructive opener Shahzad did his best to frighten South Africa's bowlers in the early stages.
He hit three sixes and a four off a Kyle Abbott over.
“I did worry because that was not the way I wanted to start,” said du Plessis.
“We need to get a lot better in the first three or four overs. We were a little soft in our execution and need to work on that.”
But any hopes the Afghans had of causing a sensational upset were effectively over when Shahzad was bowled by Morris for 44 with the last ball of the fourth over.
“The target was slightly too much,” a smiling Shahzad told reporters afterwards, adding that de Villiers was “the difference between the two sides”.
Morris grabbed his second wicket shortly after taking his first when Afghan captain Stanikzai was caught behind by wicketkeeper de Kock for seven runs.
The right-arm paceman was the star of South Africa's bowling attack, also grabbing the wickets of Rashid Khan and Dawlat Zadran.
Imran Tahir, Kyle Abbott and Kagiso Rabada all claimed two each.
The only sour note for South Africa was the withdrawal from the field of Duminy because of a hamstring injury.