Pakistan back in contention after beating South Africa at Lord’s by 49 runs
Pakistan won the toss and decided to bat against South Africa at Lord's, London today in this must win Cricket World Cup match.
Pakistan 308-7 (Babar Azam 69, Haris Sohail 89; Lungi Ngidi 3-64, Imran Tahir 2-41)
South Africa 259-9 (Quinton de Kock 47, Faf du Plessis 63; Shadab Khan 3-50, Wahab Riaz 3-46)
Result – Pakistan won by 49 runs
A switched-on Pakistan emerge winners at Lord’s - Salim Parvez
Pakistan team clings on to its dreams of reaching the knockout stages, by today beating South Africa by 49 runs at Lord’s, the venue that has brought the national side, some great moments in the past. In a do-or-die battle for both sides, South Africa have endured a defeat against, a more switched-on opponents, helped by great support of its countrymen at the ground.
Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed, under extreme pressure following a crushing defeat against India, last Sunday at Old Trafford, won an important toss and had no hesitation in opting to bat first. It had to be the right decision for his side has been found wanting, chasing a target, both historically and during the present World Cup. The fragility of its middle order has come to fore once again and it is the Pakistan bowlers that were asked to perform under pressure.
Pakistan and South Africa, both having a wretched tournament thus far, had arrived at Lord’s in a pool game that would determine their respective journey in the World Cup. A must win for both sides, was just like a knockout match. Each team was required to be at its very best for its survival in the 2019 World Cup.
As expected, both Shoaib Malik and Hasan Ali were dropped from the line up which performed so poorly against India. The pair made way for Haris Sohail and Shaheen Afridi thus giving Pakistan, a bit more balance and much needed intensity.
Pakistan had good positive start with the 50 arriving in good time in 7.1 overs and South Africa were wicketless in the first powerplay. Fakhar Zaman, was dismissed by Imran Tahir after scoring 44 in an opening stand worth 81 in 14.5 overs and was followed by Imam-ul-Haq, who too scored 44. Both succumbed to Imran, whose six-over spell was both economical and penetrative.
In the second powerplay, Pakistan owed their impetus to the 4th wicket stand – 81 runs in 11.2 overs - between Babar Azam, who brought up his fifty off 61 balls and left-handed Haris Sohail. Having sat out four previous games, Haris got into the act straight away and found the gap with effortless strokes. He played with freedom previously lacking in the middle overs for Pakistan, as his timing, placement and shot selection, amounted to a smart ODI tempo.
By the 40th over – Pakistan 217-3 had the platform to go beyond 300, which they did. Babar with aggressive intent holed out in the 41st overs for a well-played 69 off 81 balls with 7 fours. Haris’ knock was most impressive for he did not rely just on power though his rapid fifty came off just 38 balls. He carried on playing in a dismissive fashion, carving out boundaries, particularly against the pacemen.
Boundaries came thick and fast as South Africa bowling fell apart and Pakistan prospered well in the death overs. By adding 91 in the last 10 overs, primarily through Haris, who perhaps played the best innings of his short ODI career. Without taking undue risk, he smashed 89 off just 59 balls with 9 fours and 3 sixes, to put his side in the driving seat.
After an early loss of Hashim Amla, South Africa had to keep its wickets intact to have a realistic chance to reach the 309 target, set by Pakistan. In the first powerplay the score stood at 38-1 and the fifty of the innings came in 11.5 overs with both Quinton de Kock (47 off 60 balls, 3 fours and 2 sixes) and Faf du Plessis (63 off 79 balls, 5 fours), showing determination.
Their second wicket stand worth 87 runs took 18.1 overs and by the half way mark (25 overs), South Africa were behind on clock and had also lost three wickets for 106 and the loss of du Plessis made the score 136-4 in the 30th over.
Van der Dussen and David Miller represented South Africa, last hope and were met with Pakistan bowled well as a bowling unit particularly Amir in his second spell and the required rate by the end of 35 overs had gone up to 9.93 runs per over. Three dropped catches kept South Africa in the hunt but the asking rate had climbed beyond 11 runs an over.
South Africa’s 200 that arrived in 42.1 overs for the loss of six batsmen, was simply too sluggish as Shadab Khan finished his 10-over quota with figures of 3-50. The three left-arm pacemen – Amir, Afridi and Wahab Riaz (who hit the stumps on three occasions) – were very hard to go after as Pakistan tightened its grip on the match.
A comfortable win should not mask the fact that Pakistan spilled half a dozen catches and on another day, might have paid a much heavier price. Sarfraz, who could not be faulted for his captaincy today, was indeed a relieved man at the end of the match for his side had inflicted a painful defeat for his counterpart, Faf du Plessis and the rainbow nation.
South Africa out of Semi Final contention - CSA
THE Standard Bank Proteas top order were unable to break the runs-scoring drought that has afflicted them throughout the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup as they crashed to defeat by 49 runs against Pakistan at Lord’s in London on Sunday.
The result effectively rules the Proteas out of qualifying for the semi-finals as they can mathematically no longer score enough points to qualify.
The Proteas, set to score 309 for victory, produced a batting performance that was a mirror of what has happened previously. Quinton de Kock (47 off 60 balls, 3 fours and 2 sixes) and Faf du Plessis (63 off 79 balls, 5 fours) both got good starts but were not able to convert them into the substantial contributions that were needed to chase down such a big total.
Rassie van der Dussen and David Miller then perished, trying to force the pace. In the case of Miller he was not helped by a groin strain injury suffered while fielding which meant he had to concentrate on hitting boundaries as sharp running between the wickets was not an option open to him.
The Proteas were still in the game after 30 overs when they only trailed Pakistan by 5 runs on comparative run rates although they had lost an extra wicket but scoring 149 off the last 15 overs and 120 in the final 10 proved beyond them.
That Pakistan were able to set such a challenging target after winning the toss and deciding to bat first was the result in the first place of a rapid first-wicket partnership of 81 between Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman which included making 58 in the opening power play.
Babar Azam then chimed in with 69 (80 balls, 7 fours) but the real damage was inflicted by Haris Sohail who was playing only his second match of the tournament. He blasted his way to 89 off just 59 balls (9 fours and 3 sixes) and shared vital stands of 81 for the fourth wicket with Azam and 71 for the fifth with Imad Wasim. The latter stand took only 40 balls.
It enabled Pakistan to score 165 runs in their last 20 overs with 91 of those coming in the last 10.
The Proteas target might have been even bigger had Lundi Ngidi not taken 3 wickets in 6 balls at the back end of the innings.
As always, the star of the Proteas attack was Imran Tahir who displayed excellent control in taking 2/41 and has now gone past Allan Donald as South Africa’s leading wicket-taker in World Cup tournaments from five fewer matches. His return catch to dismiss Imam to establish the new mark was a special effort.
The Proteas were never able to get on top of the well-balanced Pakistan attack and were not able to score more than 54 runs in any of the 10 over splits until the final 10 when they managed 70.
Mohammed Amir gave Pakistan just the start they needed by getting rid of Hashim Amla cheaply and, in spite of a poor fielding display that saw numerous chances go down, they continued to work their way through the Proteas top order with the Proteas going into the last four overs with only 3 wickets in hand.
This made an all-out assault virtually impossible. Andile Phehlukwayo nevertheless finished with a defiant 46 (32 balls, 6 fours).
The Proteas play their penultimate match against Sri Lanka at Chester-le-Street on Friday.
Pakistan - Imam ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Haris Sohail, Sarfaraz Ahmed(c)(wk), Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Amir, Shaheen Afridi
South Africa - Quinton de Kock(wk), Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis(c), Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada, Imran Tahir, Lungi Ngidi
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