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Mohammad Irfan Leads Pakistan To Victory In Second ODI

Mohammad Irfan Leads Pakistan To Victory In Second ODI
Mohammad Irfan Leads Pakistan To Victory In Second ODI
©Action Images / Ed Sykes Livepic

Pakistan 192-4 (Misbah-ul-Haq 57no) beat
South Africa 191 (Irfan 4-33) by 6 wickets
Second One-Day International, Centurion
Report by Daniel Grummitt

An incisive opening spell from Mohammad Irfan lead Pakistan to a series levelling victory in the second One-Day International against South Africa at SuperSport Park. The tall left-arm quick soon had the home side on the back foot and they never really recovered in spite of a mature 58 from Farhaan Behardien.

Misbah-ul-Haq and Shoaib Malik then calmed any Pakistan nerves with an unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 77. Robin Peterson had threatened to bring South Africa back into the contest with a couple of mid-innings wickets, but Malik took 16 off an over from Lonwabo Tsotsobe to virtually seal the win.

Following Peterson’s second strike - the removal of Younus Khan playing a mindless sweep to Hashim Amla on the deep square-leg boundary - Pakistan were 115 for four and still needed a further 77 with the only the out-of-form Malik; the combustible Shahid Afridi and a lengthy tail to partner Misbah. However, Malik found some much-needed form and ended on 35 not out off 38 balls with Misbah on 57 off 75.

South Africa struggled with a wet ball for the latter part of the innings, but their bowlers were always left playing catch-up after Mohammad Irfan’s new-ball spell. He bowled a seven-over opening spell and, by the time it came to an end, South Africa had lost half their side.

Hashim Amla started brightly, reaching 17 before being the first of Irfan’s four victims, caught behind. Colin Ingram followed with the very next ball - Pakistan using the review to successfully overturn the original not out decision - with AB de Villiers guiding one to second slip a little later to make it 35 for three.

With Graeme Smith having also perished, to Junaid Khan, Irfan took his fourth wicket, that of Faf du Plessis caught and bowled, following a mini-stand of 19 with Behardien. The secret to Irfan’s success hadn’t been any prodigious movement but rather a disciplined back of a length line that South Africa struggled to get away.

Upon his removal from the attack, Behardien set about rebuilding the innings, first with Ryan McLaren and then Robin Peterson. He and McLaren added 44, while his seventh-wicket stand with Peterson was worth 67. Playing on his home ground, he eschewed the expansive strokeplay that had proved so successful on Sunday in favour of his more recognised game, accumulating runs rather than bludgeoning them.

His innings came to an end at 58 off his 82nd ball and shortly before a prolonged rain break as Mohammad Hafeez was rewarded for an accurate spell by having him caught on the square-leg boundary.

South Africa did have the chance to resume their innings following the two-hour break for a thunderstorm, which reduced the match to 44 overs aside, but their last three wickets added only 14 more as they were bowled out for a disappointing 191.

Their bowlers then did their best to defend this total but with conditions against them and no real help from the pitch the odds were always stacked against them. Malik and Misbah ensured that Pakistan capitalised on Irfan’s earlier good work, meaning that the two sides will go into Sunday’s third match locked at one all.

© Cricket World 2013




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