Pakistan registered a 49 run win over South Africa in their crucial group stage encounter against South Africa at Lord’s on Sunday, in the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup.
The win for Pakistan means that South Africa have been eliminated from the World Cup, after picking up just three points from seven games so far, with two points coming from a win, and one coming from a rained out match where points were shared.
Winning the toss and choosing to bat first, Pakistan posted a total of 308/7, riding on comeback man Haris Sohail’s knock of 89 off just 59 balls.
Before Sohail walked in to bat at number five, Pakistan got off to their most assured start of the tournament yet, with the opening duo of Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq putting up 81 runs in just under 15 overs.
However, both were dismissed for identical scores of 44 with the team score at 81 and 98 respectively. It wasn’t before they drove and pulled pacers Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi (3/64) with authority.
In walked Mohammad Hafeez, who hit a six during his 20 but could not translate his start into a substantial knock thanks to Aiden Marakram, who had the batsman trapped in front of the wicket.
But playing in his first match of the tournament since appearing for Pakistan against West Indies in the opener, Sohail smashed nine fours and three sixes to help the cause of Pakistan, who are struggling to stay alive in the semifinal race.
Sohail stitched together a handy partnership with Babar Azam (69 off 80 balls) of 81 runs for the fourth wicket. However, it was when Imad Wasim walked in post Azam’s dismissal that Pakistan’s innings gained the momentum it needed, with Wasim and Sohail briskly adding 71 runs more.
The last ten overs went for 91 runs, with Sohail adding the bulk of the runs. He almost carried his bat through the innings, smashing nine fours and three sixes, but was out on the second-last ball, caught by de Kock off the bowling of Lungi Ngidi.
South Africa needed a good start in reply, but they had just the opposite when Hashim Amla was out on Mohammad Amir’s first ball of his spell in the second over, to leave the Proteas reeling at 4/1.
But it was not all doom and gloom, at this stage at least as Quinton de Kock and Faf du Plessis aimed to rebuild the innings. The duo rode out the initial storm as Shaheen Afridi was brought into the attack as well, but they played sensible cricket, playing the ball to its merit and not taking unnecessary risks.
South Africa increasingly got into the game and targeted new bowler Imad Wasim, but only with limited success. In the 20th over with the score at 91, de Kock got out playing a rash shot to another spinner, Shadab Khan, caught in the deep to bring Pakistan back into the game. Aiden Markram departed after the Proteas had just added another 12 runs to the board, to push them into all sorts of trouble.
Pakistan had a vice-like grip on the match post this, bowling simple lines and lengths and not allowing the South African batsmen much room to work with, it paid dividends soon enough when du Plessis was dismissed by a Mohammad Amir stinger, caught by Sarfaraz Ahmed after he top edged the ball after making 63 off 79 balls.
South Africa continued losing wickets at regular intervals, and with Sarfarz being clever with his bowling options and not letting anyone bowl long spells, South Africa too found it hard to get adjusted to a pattern.
Rassie van der Dussen (36 off 47) and David Miller (31 off 37) were both dismissed after settling in and getting good starts, to the bowling of Shadab Khan and Shaheen Afridi respectively.
With the score at 192/6 in the 41st over, South Africa were virtually out of the game at this point.
The rest of the overs were defined by Pakistan’s bowling efficiency. Chris Morris and Kagiso Rabada tried to bring South Africa back in the game for a late twist, but were also dismissed with the score at 222 and 239 respectively.
Andile Phehlukwayo was the lone ranger till the end of the innings, making 46 off 21 balls, but South Africa fell 49 runs short in their run chase at the score of 259/9. Wahab Riaz finished as the pick of the bowlers, with figures of 10-0-46-4.
With the win, Pakistan have moved to seventh position in the table, while South Africa languish in ninth spot.