South Africa Beats Pakistan by 67 runs at Edgbaston, Knocking Them Almost Out Of Champions Trophy 2013.
Pakistan’s bowlers and a surface which became sluggish as the innings wore on kept South Africa on a leash at Edgbaston. With an eye on safety first, South Africa started conservatively, built a launchpad and then failed to do much anything with it against an attack that tested them with fuller lengths and strangled them with spin.
They managed just 100 runs in the last 20 overs and 51 in the last 10, in which time they also lost six wickets. But it was the four run-outs which dotted the period that would have caused South Africa most concern. Misbah-ul-Haq, the oldest man in the field, had the youngest legs and effected two of them, as well as taking a superb catch to blunt South Africa’s attempts at a late surge.
Run-scoring did not come freely throughout the innings and the going was also slow up front, as Hashim Amla and Colin Ingram eked out 36 runs in the first 10 overs. That was acceptable because they suffered no damage in the wicket department although it could easily have gone the other way.
Amla was on 7 when he slashed at a short, wide delivery off Mohammad Irfan and presented a tough but takeable chance for Umar Amin at point. He dived, got fingers to it and then watched it slip through. It was a moment that taught him a tough lesson: don’t drop Amla.
Over the last year, England, Australia and New Zealand have paid for that mistake. Pakistan may do so twice. They put Amla down in a Test at the Wanderers in March and he went on to score 122 in a match South Africa won. This time he finished on 81.
The dropped catch squandered Pakistan’s good start after Irfan and Junaid Khan had kept a lid on things. Irfan presented the extra bounce, which troubled Amla, but also did well to pitch it up. Junaid beat the bat regularly but it was off him that the pressure eased in the 8th over. Even though Amla had been dropped and swung and missed at a few, it was then that he settled. His two boundaries, whipped off the pads both times, should have told Pakistan the tide had turned.
Mohammad Hafeez and Wahab Riaz were the change bowlers and Riaz loosened the grip. He was guilty of bowling too wide outside the off stump but Hafeez kept Pakistan’s hand in. Ingram tried to sweep him but missed and was given out lbw.
Amla continued to look a little streaky. In the absence of a slip, he edged Hafeez for four and then was almost run-out when he called Faf du Plessis through for a single but the throw to the bowler’s end was inaccurate.
His fifty came off Saeed Ajmal, who South Africa played well. Instead it was Irfan they struggled against and when du Plessis tried to pull him, he was undone by extra lift and toe-ended the ball to cover.
South Africa would not have been too concerned because a platform had been laid and Amla was joined AB de Villiers. The captain struck the only six of the innings, off Shoaib Malik, but struggled for momentum in the wake of Amla’s departure. Playing the reverse sweep, Amla was undone by bounce and caught at short third man.
Then things became more difficult. De Villiers and JP Duminy were strangled by spin and frustration built. As the last ten overs dawned, Duminy looked for a single after hitting the ball straight to mid-on and soon realised there wasn’t one. He sent AB de Villiers back and, in scenes reminiscent of 1999, he slipped mid-pitch and was easily run-out by Misbah.
Duminy perished in eerily similar fashion. Two overs later, he set off when David Miller pushed the ball to midwicket, fell over as he tried to 180 and was another victim for Pakistan’s captain.
Miller had been sent in as a finisher but struggled to get going. Robin Peterson struck two boundaries in the penultimate over but three wickets in seven balls at the end of the innings meant South Africa finished below-par and will have to bowl well sans Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel to keep themselves in the hunt.
If South Africa’s batsmen made run-scoring look difficult at Egdbaston, Pakistan made it look nearly impossible as they stuttered to the halfway mark in their chase of 235. South Africa’s debutant seamer Chris Morris punctured the first two holes before JP Duminy burgled a wicket to put South Africa in a strong position to notch up a victory in a crucial game.
Despite the absence of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, South Africa’s bowling was vastly improved from the India match because they did not persist with tame short balls. Lonwabo Tsotsobe was pinpoint accurate with his fuller length and gave away just six runs in his opening five-over spell while Morris did the damage.
In brand new boots, he appeared with the new ball and began with a wide but four deliveries later produced a beauty to remove Imran Farhat. After beating Farhat’s outside edge, he got one to straighten from middle and off, sneak between bat and pad and sent off stump tumbling.
A period of 31 balls with just nine runs followed before Nasir Jamshed pounced on a half volley but South Africa still had a firm grip. Morris’ only short ball was delivered to Mohammad Hafeez who could not resist. He pulled and was caught at square leg.
Shoaib Malik joined Jamshed in keeping vigil and the pair had to be patient against tight lines and limited run-scoring opportunities. Once, Aaron Phangiso bowled wide. Once, he tossed it up and Jamshed cashed in.
Before turning to his other specialist spinner, Robin Peterson, AB de Villiers gave the ball to Duminy who had immediate luck. He invited Malik to come forward to his third ball and the batsman accepted but didn’t defend properly and by the time he realised the ball had rolled back towards his stumps, it was too late.
Misbah-ul-Haq joined Jamshed and found space more easily. With him at the crease, Pakistan remained positive but they needed to score at more than six runs an over to win the match and as soon Nasir was set to reach his half century he was caught and bowl by Tsotobe.
Misbah and Umar Amin carried on a partnership until the batting powerplay came in play and Umar amin coudnt survive anymore. And then Kamran Akmal went for a duck with his as usual batting skills and in the end it was Misbah all alone and ended up giving a catch to Hashim Amla after which whole team collapsed.
MC laren took 4 wickets and was the highest wicket taker in the match while Misbah was the highest run scorer for Pakistan.
Pakistan are almost out of the champions trophy by now, their only last hope is that West Indies beat both India And South Africa in upcoming game and then Pakistan would have to win by India by a huge margin to get a good RR as it is already dropped down too low.
Man Of The Match:
Hashim Amla for his excellent batting performance scoring 81 runs off 97 balls.
Source – Cricinfo