Monday 29 October 2007 

Morkel And Ntini Secure Brilliant Series Win In Lahore

South Africa 233 for 9 (Kallis 86, Gibbs 54, S Akhtar 4-43)
Pakistan 219 all out after 46.3 overs (Younus 58, Yousuf 53, Morkel 4-44) in Lahore
South Africa won by 14 runs and won the series 3-2

Four wickets apiece for pace bowlers Makhaya Ntini and Albie Morkel secured victory by 14 runs for South Africa in the fifth and final one-day international against Pakistan in Lahore after the Proteas came back from an apparently impossible position to win a thrilling match.

Half-centuries from Younus Khan and Mohammad Yousuf looked to have put Pakistan on course for victory before South Africa hit back with late wickets just as Pakistan, led by Shoaib Akhtar, had done themselves earlier in the day.

After Makhaya Ntini struck early with the wickets of openers Imran Nazir (17) and Kamran Akmal (24), Yousuf and Younus added 106 for the third wicket. Both men have been in fine form and if South Africa were to add a one-day series win to their test success, they needed breakthroughs, but when they came they appeared to have come too late as Shaun Pollock dismissed Younus for 58 shortly before Yousuf moved to his 57th ODI half-century in the 32nd over.

His innings was then ended when Jean-Paul Duminy had him caught by Mark Boucher with the first ball he delivered for 53 runs; his work looked done, but in hindsight, that was the turning point in the match - Yousuf's dismissal heralded a phase of play in which six wickets fell for 59 runs in 13.2 overs.

Captain Shoaib Malik had his stumps rearranged by Morkel after he had made 23, and Misbah became Ntini's third victim when he looped a catch to Duminy at cover having made 19.

Sohail Tanvir (nought) was trapped in front by Morkel, and when Shahid Afridi (nine), Pakistan's last batsman, was caught by AB De Villiers for Ntini's fourth wicket, the tables had turned and South Africa were the favourites, just as they had been four hours ago before Shoaib Akhtar returned to instigate the South African batting collapse.

The dismissal of Rao Iftikhar for a two-ball duck, caught by Boucher, bowled by Morkel, brought Akhtar to the crease, but instead of being able to follow on from his earlier heroics with the ball, he was caught by Andre Nel for a golden duck, giving Morkel his fourth wicket and South Africa the series win.

South Africa's last six wickets went down for 39 runs in 6.5 overs - more dramatic an overall collapse than Pakistan's (although Pakistan lost six for 20 runs in the closing stages) but in the context of the match, less costly, as they had set up more of a platform before Akhtar and Iftikhar got amongst the wickets.

Akhtar's wickets came just when they were needed, after half-centuries from Herschelle Gibbs and Jacques Kallis had put South Africa in a strong position. Akhtar returned to pick up three wickets, including that of Kallis for 86 as, backed up by Iftikhar (3-45) and Sohail Tanvir (1-38), Pakistan strangled the Proteas in the final ten overs.

Gibbs and Kallis overcame the early setback of losing Graeme Smith (nought) to the third ball of the innings, bowled by Akhtar, to add an 80-run partnership for the second wicket before Gibbs was cleaned up by Iftikhar for 54.

Kallis' half-century was a patient affair with him anchoring the innings after the departure of AB De Villiers for 17. Jean-Paul Duminy added 44 before his dismissal set the wheels in motion for Pakistan to haul themselves back into the game.

Alas for them, having hauled themselves back into contention, with Younus and Yousuf at the crease they looked on course for a certain win before South Africa came back to take a victory that left everyone wondering 'How did that happen?'

© Cricket World 2007




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