Amla, Bowlers Push Pakistan To The Brink

Amla, Bowlers Push Pakistan To The Brink
©REUTERS/Rogan Ward. Picture Supplied by Action Images

South Africa 234-9 (Amla 81) beat
Pakistan 167 (McLaren 4-19) by 67 runs
ICC Champions Trophy, Group B, Edgbaston
Report by Daniel Grummitt

When Misbah-ul-Haq picked out Hashim Amla at mid-wicket, the partisan Pakistan crowd at the glittering Edgbaston stadium in England’s second city started to head for the exits; a fate that now seemingly awaits their team in the tournament.

Misbah’s departure for 55 off 75 balls marked the end of any realistic challenge in a Pakistan run chase that had stuttered and stumbled throughout. In truth, both sides found the going tricky on an Edgbaston pitch that was a little on the slow side, just as it was on Saturday for the home side’s match against Australia.

Hashim Amla proved the difference between the teams today and hit 81 off 97 balls to shepherd South Africa to a competitive but gettable 234 for nine.

He and opening partner Colin Ingram began ponderously against a Pakistan attack that was excellent. Mohammad Irfan, in particular, posed problems for Amla and had him dropped by Umar Amin on seven. If that catch had been taken then Pakistan’s destiny in this competition may look completely different.

However, after that lifeline and a couple of other hairy moments, Amla began to find his range once the change bowlers were introduced. Wahab Riaz was the main culprit as far as relieving the pressure was concerned and conceded a relatively generous 50 runs from his nine wicket-less overs.

South Africa’s plan for the innings was clearly to build a platform and then explode in the final overs, but only the first part of it worked. When Amla fell in the 32nd over, the stage was set for AB de Villiers, JP Duminy and David Miller to take that close to 280.

Their undoing initially was the spin of Shoaib Malik and Saeed Ajmal and then Pakistan’s unexpected fielding star, the 39-year-old Misbah. Both de Villiers and Duminy slipped while attempting runs that were not there for the taking and Misbah benefited on both occasions.

Miller was then unable to provide any late impetus following the loss of the two set batsmen and South Africa limped to the end of their 50 overs. Since Amla’s departure, they had scored 89 runs in 110 balls for the loss of six wickets.

And thus Pakistan went into the break with the momentum, and the knowledge that South Africa were without both of their pace spearheads Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn because of injury. They would also have been mindful of how badly Lonwabo Tsotsobe had bowled against India and that his fellow opening bowler Chris Morris was on debut.

Both Tsotsobe and Morris, though, were exceptional. They made the most of Pakistan’s unexplainable go-slow at the start of their innings, pretty much abandoning the short-pitched barrage that failed them so spectacularly on Thursday.

Morris struck in his very first over, castling Imran Farhat with a ball that just moved in enough to nip between bat and pad. He then had Mohammad Hafeez caught by surprise with a rare short ball, while Tsotsobe would be rewarded for a luckless first spell by dismissing Nasir Jamshed for 42 to make it 86 for four in the 28th over.

South Africa’s policy of playing three spinners paid dividends. Aaron Phangiso got through his 10 overs for 50 runs, while Duminy’s effort was the unlikely bonus. He bowled seven overs for just 26 runs and also bowled the experienced Shoaib Malik, who Pakistan rely on to partner Misbah in the middle of their innings.

Without his lieutenant, Misbah was left with too much to do. He was given precious little support by Umar Amin, who largely scratched around in making 16 off 29 balls, and lost Kamran Akmal second ball courtesy of a smart catch at backward point from Faf du Plessis.

Misbah had some brief success in upping the scoring rate, but then he picked out Amla off Tsotsobe and the game was over soon afterwards. Ryan McLaren benefited with some cheap wickets towards the end, richly rewarded for an accurate spell with figures of four for 19 off eight overs.

If South Africa’s batting had been unhelpfully reliant on Hashim Amla, then their bowling was very much a team effort and proved far too good for a hesitant Pakistan.

© Cricket World 2013

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CT 2013 Fixtures

Fixtures & Results

6th June: India v South Africa, Cardiff

IND 331-7 beat RSA 305 by 26 runs: Report
7th June: Pakistan v West Indies, London

WIN 172-8 beat PAK 170 by 2 wickets: Report
8th June: England v Australia, Birmingham

ENG 269-6 beat AUS 221-9 by 48 runs: Report
9th June: New Zealand v Sri Lanka, Cardiff

NZL 139-9 beat SRI 138 by 1 wicket: Report
10th June: Pakistan v South Africa, Birmingham

RSA 234-9 beat PAK 167 by 67 runs: Report
11th June: India v West Indies, London

IND 236-2 beat WIN 233-9 by 8 wickets: Report
12th June: Australia v New Zealand, Birmingham

AUS 243-8 v NZL 51-2 - match abandoned: Report
13th June: England v Sri Lanka, The Oval

SRI 297-3 beat ENG 293-7 by 7 wickets: Report
15th June: India v Pakistan, Birmingham

IND 102-2 beat PAK 165 by 8 wickets: Report
16th June: England v New Zealand, Cardiff

ENG 169 beat NZL 159-8 by 10 runs: Report
17th June: Australia v Sri Lanka, London

SRI 253-8 beat AUS 233 by 20 runs: Report
19th June: Semi-Final, London

ENG 179-3 beat RSA 175 by 7 wickets: Report
20th June: Semi-Final, Cardiff

IND 182-2 beat SRI 181-8 by 8 wickets: Report
23rd June: Final, Birmingham

IND 129-7 beat ENG 124-8 by 5 runs: Report

Champions Trophy History

Previous Winners

1998: South Africa

2000: New Zealand

2002: India/Sri Lanka

2004: West Indies

2006: Australia

2009: Australia