CARDIFF – As the sun shone gloriously on the luscious green turf and the sea gulls closed in after Andile Phehlukwayo smashed the winning runs into the River Taff, everything seemed right with the world again.
Forgotten were the dark days of London and Southampton. Here in Cardiff, the Welsh capital, the Proteas were basking in the sunlight that is reserved for winners.
The smiles on the faces in the change-room were a reflection of relief as much as joy. Everyone wearing a green tracksuit knew how just much these two points meant, even though it was taken off a nation where playing cricket was actually banned until 2000.
The emphatic nature of the victory would certainly also be a confidence booster heading into the next four matches, which are all must-win encounters for the Proteas.
They will also know that it wasn’t as one-sided as the scoreboard suggests. Coupled with the threat of rain throughout the day – 88 minutes were lost in total causing South Africa’s innings to be reduced to 48 overs – the butterflies would have been buzzing when Afghanistan had progressed to a solid 69/2 in 20.3 overs.