Bloemfontein [South Africa], January 28 (ANI): South Africa spoilt Jofra Archer's return to international cricket and boosted their own chances of direct qualification for this year's ICC Men's Cricket World Cup with an impressive 27-run victory over England on Friday.
Archer (1/81) was expensive and picked up just one wicket in his first international appearance in almost two years, as Rassie van der Dussen hit a superb century to guide the hosts home in Bloemfontein.
Van der Dussen smashed 111 from 117 deliveries to help South Africa post 298/7 and England were all out in the 45th over in reply, despite an excellent 113 from opener Jason Roy.
It was South Africa's quicks that did the damage on England's strong batting line-up, with Anrich Nortje (4/62), Sisanda Magala (3/46) and Kagiso Rabada (2/46) claiming nine wickets between them in a polished display of fast bowling.
The victory moves South Africa in front of Ireland and up to 10th on the current ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Super League standings, with the top eight teams set to qualify directly for this year's 50-over World Cup that is scheduled to be held in India at the end of the year.
India will qualify directly for the event due to being tournament hosts, but there is a log jam near the foot of the standings as teams jostle for the remaining seven qualification spots.
South Africa did their chances of qualifying directly some harm when they withdrew from a scheduled ODI series in Australia earlier this year and the Proteas still have some work to do if they want to ensure their place at the 13th edition of the 50-over World Cup.
The Proteas have a total of 69 points from 17 Super League matches, with eighth-placed West Indies (88 points) and ninth-placed Sri Lanka (77) the teams they will be attempting to overtake in the standings over the coming months.
South Africa have two more matches at home against England over the next week, before a further two games against the Netherlands at the end of March and the start of April.
If the Proteas fail to finish in the top eight spots on the standings and book their ticket directly to the World Cup then they could still feature at the tournament by earning one of two places available at the 2023 Cricket World Cup Qualifier that is scheduled for a three-week period in Zimbabwe over June and July.
The qualifier will feature the five teams from the Super League that don't qualify directly along with five sides from League 2 and a Qualifier Playoff, with two spots up for grabs for the event at the end of the year. (ANI)