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Hasan Ali, spinners keep Pakistan alive after rain-affected game

Fakhar Zaman played an impressive knock for Pakistan
Fakhar Zaman played an impressive knock for Pakistan

Pakistan 119-3 (Zaman 31) beat
South Africa 219-8 (Miller 75no) by 19 runs D/L
7th match, Group B, ICC Champions Trophy, Birmingham

A spirited unbeaten 75 run knock from David Miller went in vain for South Africa as Pakistan completed a 19-run victory by Duckworth-Lewis method riding on a strong bowling performance from Hasan Ali and the spinners in the seventh match of ICC Champions Trophy in Birmingham.

Spinners give head start to South Africa

After South Africa won the toss and elected to bat first, openers Quinton de Kock (33) and Hashim Amla (16), though scratchy gave a solid start of 40 runs on a slow outfield. The introduction of the spinners, changed the complexion of the game as Imad Wasim (2-20) accounted for Amla and AB de Villiers (0) while Mohammad Hafeez (1-51) trapped de Kock LBW to leave them reeling at 61 for three.

South Africa dented further by Hasan Ali's three-wicket haul

Even though Faf du Plessis (26) tried to resurrect the innings with a 29 run stand with Miller (75 not out), Hasan (3-24) had other plans as he dismissed the South Africa Test captain along with JP Duminy (8) and Wayne Parnell (0) to leave the Proteas reeling at 118 for six. Nevertheless, Miller showed a lot of character and batted extremely well with the lower order. He shared a couple of vital stands of 47 runs with Chris Morris (28) and another 48-run partnership with Kagiso Rabada (26) to help South Africa recover a bit. In the process, he also reached his fifty off 83 balls. His efforts ensured South Africa ended their innings at 219 for eight, which at one stage looked improbable.

Fakhar Zaman set the tone for chase before Morkel pegged them back

As rain delayed the start of the second innings a bit, the ball was swinging and bouncing after resumption. Even the experienced Azhar Ali (9) found it tough going but the 27-year-old Fakhar Zaman (31) on his debut took the attack to the South African bowlers, hitting six boundaries in the first five overs to give some momentum into the innings. Just as Pakistan looked comfortable with a score of 40 for naught in seven overs, Morne Morkel (3-18) showed his absolute class dismissing both Azhar and Zaman in the eighth over by the end of which Pakistan were placed 42 for two.

Some consolation from Babar Azam (31 not out) and Hafeez (26) with a 52 run stand calmed down the nerves in the Pakistan camp before Morkel returned to dismiss the latter. Shoaib Malik (16 not out) looked positive from the outset and when the score was 119 for three in 27 overs, rain arrived, allowing no further play possible. However, Pakistan were ahead of the D/L total by 19 runs at that stage, giving them a much needed victory.

Hasan was awarded the player of the match for his three-wicket haul.

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