World T20: Pakistan beat South Africa in a thrilling super 8 match
Pakistan made a meal of what could have been a canter for them, chasing a moderate 133. South Africa looked to have seal the match for large parts but the sub-continent side held on to their nerves with a couple of Umars coming to their rescue.
Pakistan made a meal of what could have been a canter for them, chasing a moderate 133. South Africa looked to have seal the match for large parts but the sub-continent side held on to their nerves with a couple of Umars coming to their rescue. (All AFP Photos)
Earlier, Kamran Akmal was back to doing what he does best, miss stumpings and catches. He did both of them in a single delivery when Hashim Amla danced down the track to the rookie spinner Raza Hasan. Akmal was saved the blushes as the South African batsman got out cheaply in the very next over to Yasir Arafat.
South Africa have banked on Richard Levi to provide them with quickfire starts. He could not do so today though, as the wily customer Saeed Ajmal got him bowled from "within the legs" attempting a reverse sweep.
Pakistan skipper Mohammad Hafeez took two crucial wickets that of Jacques Kallis and Farhaan Behardien. He also did not give away too many runs, 23 in his four overs in fact.
It was the South African counterpart to Hafeez who provided them the necessary impetus with a brisky 25 off 18 balls. At one point the African side did not look to be crossing 115-120 mark.
JP Duminy played the innings of the day for South Africa though, scoring 48 off 38 balls to not only solidify the tattering batting but also along with De Villiers ensure a fighting total.
Pakistan did have a flattering opening partnership with both Mohammad Hafeez and Imran Nazir scoring quickfire 15 and 14 respectively. When Nazir fell, Pakistan was 24/1 in 3 overs.
Dale Steyn was shocked in his first over but made a spirited comeback to remove - first Imran Nazir and later Yasir Arafat, Umar Gul - to rock the Pakistanis.
Pakistan, after the explosive start, never regained their composure and gave unnecessary wickets away in a heap. Before they could realise, their top-order was sitting in the pavilion, score on 6/63 in 12.1 overs when Shahid Afridi fell.
Robin Peterson took 2/15 in 4 overs to rattle Pakistan. He had been included in the squad in place of Faf du Plessis and what a replacement at that.
South Africa was giving it their all, quite literally. In the air , on the ground, with the ball, Pakistan was made to face the heat.
Johan Botha, the former South African T20 skipper, too chipped in with a wicket along with JP Duminy.
Pakistan did not throw in the towel though as a couple of Umars - Gul and Akmal - took it in their hands to guide the team home. Akmal was the supporter while Gul hit a few lusty blows to throw the gauntlet back at South Africa.
Umar Gul was the chief destructor with 2 fours and 3 sixes in his 32 off 17 balls.
He did not find his touch till now but Umar Akmal was waiting for exactly the right opportunity it seems to come to the fore. His 43* sealed the match for Pakistan against a charging South Africa.