Pakistan keep their World Cup hopes alive with a 49-run win against South Africa in a must win game. South Africa become the second team after Afghanistan to be out of contention for the semi-finals after their sixth defeat of the tournament.
Pakistan captain, Sarfraz Ahmed won the toss and elected to bat first in the do-or-die game against South Africa in the World Cup played at Lord’s.
Fakhar Zaman and Imam Ul Haq provided Pakistan a decent start as they took their team to 58/0 at the end of first play, playing cautious.
Zaman was playing his strokes and it looked like his day, but as looked to play out of his skin and tried a scoop of Imran Tahir in his first over, he presented a dolly to Hashim Amla in the slip cordon. He scored 44 off 50.
With the wicket of Zaman, the scoring rate of Pakistan got slower. Imam and Babar Azam could contribute 39 runs in the next ten overs, keeping the Men in Green to just 97 runs at the end of 20 overs.
In the 21st over, Imam struck a firm straight drive, but it was caught magnificently by Tahir. He scored 44 runs off 57 deliveries.
Pakistan were struggling with two wickets down and were unable to score freely. Both Babar and Mohammad Hafeez, maintaining strike rates of below 80 which affected the side big time. Eventually, the pressure got the better of Hafeez and he was trapped in front of the stumps after scoring 20 off 33 deliveries.
Haris Sohail, who made his comeback in the playing XI, looked impressive as he built a handy partnership with Babar Azam. While, the right-handed batsman reached his half-century from the other end.
As Azam looked to up his scoring rate, he started playing too many shots. He targeted Andile Phehlukwayo, on the first delivery, the ball went up in the air, but fell in a no-man’s land, while on the next delivery he found Lungi Ngidi in the deep.
On the other hand, Haris Sohail played a gem of a knock and reached his half-century on just 38 deliveries. He continued in his merry way and steered Pakistan to 308 runs with his aggressive batting and intelligent stroke play. While Imad Wasim scored useful 25 runs off 15 balls.
Sohail got out after scoring 89 runs off just 59 deliveries, which got the Men in Green to a competitive total.
Lungi Ngidi remained the pick of the bowler with three wickets, while Imran Tahir struck twice. Andile Phehlukwayo and Aiden Markram took one wicket each.
The ball skidded off the surface and Lungi Nigdi was speechless as Wahab Riaz got his third wicket. He scored just one run.
Wahab Riaz increased South Africa problems as he breached Kagiso Rabada’s defences with a dipping yorker which hits the middle stump camera square on its lens.
Chris Morris looked to create some room for himself but Wahab Riaz follows him and bowled and a perfect yorker which clips the leg stump.
Shaheen picked the important wicket of David Miller who was threatening Pakistan. He contributed 31 runs.
Van Der Dussen picked the length wrong and gave away a simple catch in the hands of Hafeez who called it first. He made 36 runs.
Du Plessis can’t get going as Amir did the job once again and sent the skipper back home. He scored 63 off 79 balls with the help of five boundaries.
The skipper Du Plessis is fulfilling his job as he brings his half-century off 66 deliveries which boosted the morale of his team.
The ball skidded off the surface and Adam Markram was speechless as Shadab Khan got his second wicket. He scored just seven runs.
A moment of relief for Pakistan as Shadab Khan strikes, thanks to Imam-ul-Haq who took a blinder to dismiss Quinton De Kock for 47 runs.
The pressure was on South Africa after the wicket of Amla but skipper Faf Du Plessis holds his nerves and along with Quinton De Kock put 34 runs on the scoreboard till the end of the powerplay.
Mohammad Amir pitched the ball up and slightly on leg side which trapped Hashim Amla in his legs. A strong appeal from the opposition was denied by the umpire but a review went in favor of Pakistan.
The right-handed opener scored just two runs off three balls.
Pakistan made a couple of changes, resting Hasan Ali and Shoaib Malik, while bringing in Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Sohail in the playing XI.
“Looks like a good batting pitch and some grass cover on it,” said Sarfraz Ahmed. “We are not thinking about the pressure, just focusing on the game, which is very important for us. Haris Sohail and Shaheen in, Shoaib Malik and Hasan Ali out.”
On the other hand, Proteas captain, Faf du Plessis is happy to bowl as they will take the field against Pakistan with an unchanged team.
“I was going to bowl first anyway, so good toss to lose,” Faf said.