Imran Tahir celebrates after bowling Noor Ali Zadran

Ajit Agarkar disscusses whether Afghanistan"s latest World Cup collapse is a sign their level of cricket is regressing (0:42)

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South Africa 131 for 1 (de Kock 68, Amla 40*) beat Afghanistan 125 all out (Rashid 35, Tahir 4-29, Morris 3-13) by nine wickets

South Africa have finally won one. So far have the Proteas" stocks fallen in this tournament after three defeats and an unconvincing outing against West Indies, that an Afghan victory in this match was not unthinkable.

But this was a make-or-break encounter for both teams, and it was Afghanistan who blinked - and broke - first, collapsing in a heap after they were unnerved by repeated rain breaks in the afternoon. Having been 39 for 0, Afghanistan"s disintegration began in earnest after the second - and longer - of two rain intervals as they lost four wickets in two overs to Imran Tahir"s guile and Andile Phehlukwayo"s wiles, slipping to 77 for 7.

But for Rashid Khan"s boshing, they might have folded for under 100. He cracked a rapid 35 from No. 9 to save some of Afghanistan"s blushes before they were bowled out for 125. All told, they had lost 10 for 86, with Tahir collecting 4 for 29 and Chris Morris 3 for 13. Phehlukwayo chimed in with two wickets of his own, and he also performed a crucial holding role, stringing together 36 dot balls as Afghanistan"s hit or miss (and today, it was usually miss) tactics backfired.

As has been the case throughout their campaign so far, Afghanistan"s batsmen just didn"t score enough runs to give their busy, bustling bowling attack enough to work with. Had they managed to scrounge together even 250, there might have been a game on - Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla were kept to just 35 runs in the Powerplay, and endured some uncomfortable moments early on - but without a total to defend, any intensity remaining in the competition quickly dissipated.

Faced with a chase that even they couldn"t muck up, South Africa rode on de Kock"s 72-ball 68 to secure a nine-wicket victory - and a vital two points - with slightly more than 21 overs to spare. But while de Kock and Amla"s 104-run opening stand settled the result, the match really turned on Tahir"s remarkable spin with the ball.

More to follow...

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