NEW DELHI: Coach Jonathan Trott believes Afghanistan will enter the T20 World Cup semi-final against South Africa on Thursday with an advantage, citing their lack of historical baggage compared to the often unlucky and accident-prone South African team.
Afghanistan, experiencing their first-ever last-four appearance in any World Cup, contrasts sharply with South Africa, who have a long history of close calls and missteps in major tournaments.
T20 World Cup Schedule | Stats
Afghanistan, new to this advanced stage of the World Cup, is seen by Trott as a team without the past scars, which makes them a dangerous and unpredictable opponent.
“We go into the semi-final with no scarring or no history with regards to semi-finals. This is uncharted territory for us,” Trott was quoted as saying by AFP.

He added that the Afghan team has no “preconceived ideas on it all, or history of failure or success in semi-finals in past years.” This lack of historical burden is perceived as a significant advantage.
According to Trott, this position frees the team to approach the game with nothing to lose, contrasting with the high pressure on South Africa.

South Africa has had the upper hand in their meetings with Afghanistan in T20Is, with victories in their two past matches in the 2010 T20 World Cup in Barbados and in Mumbai six years later.
However, South Africa’s path through the current World Cup has not been without drama. Despite winning all seven of their games, they have faced near-embarrassments against the Netherlands, Bangladesh and Nepal. Their Super Eights victory over defending champions England by a narrow seven-run margin also added to their tense moments.
On the other side, Afghanistan’s journey included a defeat by India but was followed by a landmark victory over Australia and a tight eight-run win against Bangladesh that secured their semi-final spot.
Trott described the experience of leading Afghanistan to the semi-finals as “surreal.” He has developed a strong bond with the team since taking over as coach in July 2022. This relationship was evident when, after the rain-affected win against Bangladesh, Trott was carried off the field on his players’ shoulders.

“When I took over, I was astounded by the talent that I saw,” Trott said. He acknowledged the raw talent within the team and has aimed to add structure without limiting the players’ natural abilities.
“I’ve just tried to add here and there. At no stage have I tried to clip anybody’s wings. I’m just trying to make the bow of the arrow even stronger so that they can go for longer, win more games and shoot for the stars even further away,” Trott remarked.
As the semi-final approaches, Trott’s approach and the team’s fresh mindset leave Afghanistan positioned as a formidable contender against the more historically burdened South Africa.