Sophia Gardens Stadium, Cardiff Weather Update, South Africa vs Afghanistan: South Africa and Afghanistan both have had dreadful starts to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. They sit ninth and tenth in the points table with zero wins. South Africa have played three matches and lost all three (against England, Bangladesh and India) before seeing a washout with West Indies on 10 June in Southampton. Afghanistan have played three matches and lost all three - against Australia, Sri Lanka and New Zealand.
They travel to Sophia Gardens in Cardiff, Wales in hopes of getting their first win of the 50-over tournament. Scheduled to start at 1.30 pm local time (6 pm IST), it is the second match of the day with the early start seeing Sri Lanka take on Australia at The Oval in London.
Weather is expected to be better in London than in Cardiff even though both are slated to see cloudy conditions and showers. The afternoon toss may be delayed with chances of precipitation rising to 51%, as per Accuweather, in comparison to 17-22% in the morning. It is expected to get cloudy thereafter with chances of showers reducing thereafter.
During the course of Match 21 of the Cricket World Cup, the temperature is expected to hover around 15 degrees Celsius and drop by the second innings.
The three previous matches at Sophia Gardens have all resulted in complete matches with convincing wins for New Zealand (over Sri Lanka), England (over Bangladesh) and Afghanistan lost to Sri Lanka here despite bout of rain.
For Proteas, it is a tricky situation to be in and batting coach Dale Benkenstein has warned them to adapt to the unique demands of the World Cup or face an embarrassing exit.
Benkenstein says South Africa's players must learn how to prepare for the challenge on playing different opponents in each match. The World Cup's round-robin group stage, where all 10 teams play each other once, is far different from the usual block of matches against the same opponent that national sides have on their tours.
"The difference in tournaments to international cricket is that in regular series you play the same opposition four or five times so you have an opportunity to start slow, to sum them up and then you can take them down," Benkenstein said.
"Here, you are playing one-off games. You are playing on different wickets and against different teams in every match.
"I really feel we are one game away from getting things right. Then the confidence levels will be up there and we may peak at the right time."
South Africa have never faced Afghanistan in an ODI before and must win to keep alive their slender hopes of qualifying for the semi-finals.
(With inputs from AFP)