Auckland, New Zealand 7.3.2015, South Africa won the toss and elected to field. Team changes for Pakistan, at last Sarfraz Ahmed was included as opener and specialist wicket keeper, Younis Khan also returned. Haris Sohail and thankfully Nasir Jamshed given a rest.
Sarfraz Ahmed proved his immense quality and talent by scoring 49 runs (off 49 balls), including 5 fours and 3 sixes. As ever reliable Misbah saved the day with 56 useful runs. After some rain the usual Pakistan batting collapse occurred, they struggled to get a below average 222.
I am still concerned with Pakistan’s batting ability, there is room for improvement.
In reply, Mohammad Irfan made an early breakthrough, getting de Kock out for 0. Amla and du Plessis made a fluent 67. Then the Pakistan seamers took hold and South Africa batting crumbled to 77/5.
The Pakistan fast bowlers performed very well. Mohammad Irfan took 3/52 , Rahat Ali 3/40, Wahab Riaz 3/45.
Sohail Khan took the most crucial wicket of de Villiers, who scored 77 runs off 57 balls, very nearly taking the gave away from Pakistan.
Sarfraz was fantastic as specialist wicket keeper, taking an impressive World Cup equalling record 6 catches from edges.
South Africa with a notorious record for choking in the important games, once again missed out. Losing by 29 runs.
Deservedly Sarfraz Ahmed was Man of the Match, accepting his award from Ramiz Raja.
Well done and Congratulations to Team Pakistan, the big win will certainly lift the whole Nation.
Stay tuned, Misbah’s ‘Cornered Tigers’ 2015 version have arrived!
Next match versus Ireland, Sunday 15th March, Adelaide, Australia.