Afghanistan Coach Optimistic Ahead of T20 World Cup Semi-Final

Jonathan Trott, the coach of Afghanistan’s cricket team, believes his team has a special advantage over South Africa in the upcoming T20 World Cup semi-final due to their lack of past setbacks.

Afghanistan, appearing in their first-ever World Cup semi-final, approach the match without any previous negative experiences at this stage, unlike South Africa, who have a history of struggling in crucial knockout games despite winning the 1998 Champions Trophy.

“We are going into the semi-final without any scars or history of previous semi-finals. This is new territory for us,” said Trott, a former England cricketer who grew up in South Africa. “We’re just going out there to give our best. We have no preconceived notions, no history of success or failure in semi-finals in the past.”

“For us, this is a new challenge, which I think makes us a dangerous side in the semi-finals. We have nothing to lose, and there’s a lot of pressure on the opposition,” Trott added.

Although South Africa has won both of their previous T20 encounters against Afghanistan, they have faced close matches despite winning all seven games in this World Cup. Afghanistan secured their spot in the semi-finals with a thrilling eight-run victory over Bangladesh in the last Super 8 match.

Trott, who became Afghanistan’s coach in July 2022, praised the team’s natural talent and expressed pride in guiding them to the semi-finals.

“When I took over, I was impressed by the talent I saw,” Trott remarked. “There was a rawness to their approach, and no fixed structure in how they played or strategized.”

“I’ve simply tried to add some guidance. I haven’t tried to restrict anyone’s potential. I’ve aimed to strengthen their skills so they can perform consistently, win more matches, and aim for greater achievements,” he added.

Squads:

South Africa: Aiden Markram (c), Ottniel Baartman, Gerald Coetzee, Quinton de Kock, Bjorn Fortuin, Reeza Hendricks, Marco Jansen, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, David Miller, Anrich Nortje, Kagiso Rabada, Ryan Rickelton, Tabraiz Shamsi, Tristan Stubbs.

Afghanistan: Rashid Khan (c), Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Azmatullah Omarzai, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Ishaq, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Karim Janat, Nangyal Kharoti, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Noor Ahmad, Naveen-ul-Haq, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Fareed Ahmad Malik. Reserves: Sediq Atal, Hazratullah Zazai, Saleem Safi.

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