Home Sport Cricket Key battles for Proteas against Afghanistan: Can Jansen get his mojo back?

Key battles for Proteas against Afghanistan: Can Jansen get his mojo back?

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Jansen possibly needs a break after a hectic World Cup schedule, but having suffered a roasting from India captain Rohit Sharma in the last game, he will be eager to get back out on the park in a bid to regain his confidence.

South Africa captain Temba Bavuma (centre) talks with Marco Jansen (left) and Heinrich Klaasen during their World Cup preparations back in September. File Picture: PHILL MAGAKOE, AFP

THE PROTEAS head into Friday’s final round-robin match against Afghanistan (10.30am SA time start) with the comfort of having qualified for the World Cup semi-finals already.

However, that will take none of the sting out of some potentially exciting head-to-head clashes, whose outcome will have a major impact on the match.

We pick five clashes to look forward to at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad …

Marco Jansen vs Ibrahim Zadran

Jansen possibly needs a break after a hectic World Cup schedule, but having suffered a roasting from India captain Rohit Sharma in the last game, he will be eager to get back out on the park in a bid to regain his confidence before the semi-final showdown against Australia.

He will have a tough task, though, with Zadran and opening partner Rahmanullah Gurbaz showing good form throughout the tournament.

But Jansen remains one of the leading wicket takers in the powerplay, due to the amount of swing he has managed to get with the new ball.

Equally, Zadran showed that he can stand up to the likes of Australia’s Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood, so an intriguing battle awaits between the two youngsters.

Kagiso Rabada vs Rachmat Shah

Shah has enjoyed a solid World Cup campaign with three half-centuries, and will like nothing more than to convert another start into a three-figure score to match Zadran.

He will, though, have to get past Rabada, who has been relishing his change-bowling role in India.

Proteas bowling coach Eric Simons was adamant that Rabada will remain in this role for the remainder of the tournament due to his ability to both contain and strike during the latter half of the opening powerplay.

The right-arm paceman has a penchant for picking up the opponent’s premier batter, and will no doubt have Shah in his sights.

Temba Bavuma vs Mujeeb ur Rahman

The Proteas skipper has been on the lean side of things when it comes to runs during the World Cup, which has been further highlighted by the phenomenal performances of his batting colleagues.

His defence has been found wanting on two occasions already by spinners, as he was unable to get a proper stride in. Mujeeb will no doubt have noticed that, and with the Afghan tweaker already delivering his ball quicker through the air than usual, it could prove a real test for Bavuma early on.

Heinrich Klaasen vs Rashid Khan

The pair are arguably the biggest stars in T20 cricket for their respective talents they bring to any franchise team.

Klaasen, of course, bashes the ball long and far, while Rashid bamboozles batters with his array of spinning deliveries.

The pair have shared some tremendous battles around the world already this year, with Klaasen, who is arguably the best white-ball player of spin, coming out on top in their Major League Cricket tussle in the US, when he took 26 runs off a Rashid over. There’s no doubt Rashid will be eyeing revenge.

Rob Walter vs Jonathan Trott

It’s not often the coaches go head-to-head, but both men have confounded their critics thus far with their teams’ performances.

Walter took over a side that qualified for this World Cup in the last available automatic spot, and guided them to a semi-final with two matches to spare.

Trott, a former SA Under-19 batter who played international cricket for England, has created history with the Afghans at this tournament as they still have a mathematical chance of qualifying for the semi-finals for the first time.

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