Pakistan overcome ‘favorite’ South Africa after thrilling encounter


AUCKLAND: Pakistan pacers displayed lethal bowling show and helped Pakistan defend a modest 232 to record a 29-run victory against ‘mighty’ South Africans in World Cup Pool B match here at Eden Park.

After being reduced to 102-6, Proteas captain AB de Villiers put stiff resistance and scored 77 off 58 balls but finally he edged to Sarfraz Ahmed off Sohail Khan’s delivery. South Africa lost all of their wickets in 33.3 overs with 202 runs on board.

Mohammad Irfan, Wahab Riaz and Rahat Ali took three wickets each while Sohail Khan took an important one.

Sarfraz Ahmed also proved phenomenal behind the wickets and with the bat, taking six catches and earlier scored run-a-ball 49 with the help of five boundaries and three sixes.

Earlier, intermittent rain stopped play on several occasions, South Africa removed Pakistan for 222-10 in 46.4 overs after the match was reduced to 47 overs. However, when the total was re-calculated on the basis of Duckworth-Lewis method, it was revised and South Africa had to chase 232 in 47 overs.

With a modest total of 232 runs, South Africa, who have crossed 400-mark twice in the tournament so far, were reduced to 102-6 after Sarfraz Ahmed took three catches behind the wickets – one extraordinary, which saw Amla (38 off 27 balls), who was looking dangerous.

Earlier, Pakistan finally found an able opener in wicket-keeper batsman Sarfraz, who had been out of favors of team management for no apparent reason in four previous matches. He scored 49 off as many balls with the help of five boundaries and three sixes to put mighty South Africans under pressure. He got run-out when wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock collected a throw from David Miller to remove him.

Ahmed Shahzad, who scored 93 against UAE, failed to impress against tough Proteas opposition and scored only 18 before he was removed by Kyle Abbott when Dale Steyn took his catch. Pakistan lost him with only 30 runs on board.

Struggling middle-order batsman Younus Khan scored 37 off 44 balls. Skipper Misbah-ul-Haq played a slow 56-run knock off 86 balls.

Pacer Wahab Riaz, the ‘Man of Match’ against Zimbabwe for his all-round performance, lost his wicket without scoring a single run.

Sohaib Maqsood (8) and Umar Akmal (13) also put a lackluster show. Shahid Afridi scored 15-ball 22 before losing his wicket to Steyn, who eventually bagged three wickets for 30 in ten overs to remain most successful for South Africa in the match. Abbott and Morne Morkel captured two each while Imran Tahir and captain AB de Villiers took one each.