Faf Du Plessis: South Africa showed they are still strong in Cricket World Cup after Ageas Bowl rain helped start recovery
Faf Du Plessis feels South Africa have rediscovered their energy after ending the long wait for a World Cup win.
South Africa beat Afghanistan by nine wickets on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method in Cardiff to maintain their hopes of making the semi-finals.
The Proteas bowled out Afghanistan for 125 in 34.1 overs, with spinner Imran Tahir taking four wickets and Chris Morris three in a reduced 48 overs per side contest.
South Africa reached their revised DLS target of 127 in 28.4 overs as Quinton De Kock struck 68 from 72 balls and the out-of-form Hashim Amla made a welcome 41 not out.
Rain had denied them a shot at beating the West Indies at the Ageas Bowl earlier in the week – although in some ways that had given them a boost with avoiding defeat.
South Africa captain Du Plessis said: ‘I’m very relieved.
‘I think in all our cricket was much better and much more competitive.
‘We spoke a lot about energy in the field and stuff and you could really see a big difference on the team.
‘We needed to be solid because we have shown signs of good cricket.
‘But we’ve shown signs of inconsistent and at stages bad cricket.
‘This was an opportunity for us to put our peg in the ground, to make sure we put in a solid performance in all departments.
‘And I thought we did that, bowling, fielding and also batting - very clinically, chasing the small total down.’
Du Plessis insists South Africa must win their remaining four group games – against New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Australia – to have any hope of making the semi-finals.
Unbeaten New Zealand are next up at Edgbaston on Wednesday in what is sure to be a far sterner test than bottom-placed Afghanistan provided in the Welsh capital.
‘We have big games coming up, but if we play like this will be a better team,’ added Du Plessis.
‘We got sort of a step against West Indies with the rain.
‘And now we have taken a real big step towards where we need to be.’