Pakistan got back to winning ways by defeating South Africa by 19 runs (D/L) to bag two important points on offer. Earlier, Pakistani bowlers put up a stellar show to restrict the Proteas to a modest 219, and when rain played spoilsport, Pakistan were 19 runs ahead of the D/L par score.
South Africa won the toss and unsurprisingly, chose to bat first in anticipation of the pitch getting slow in the second innings. Pakistan
Pakistani bowlers get the better of Proteas top order
The innings began with Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla laying a good platform for the South Africans, but Pakistan spinner Imad Wasim seemed to have taken a lesson or two from his last outing and did well to initiate the burst in the ninth over. With an in-drifter, he dismissed Hashim Amla and then Mohammad Hafeez sent Quinton de Kock packing after the latter missed a sweep and was trapped in front of the stumps for 33. Four balls later, skipper AB de Villiers copped his first golden duck in ODIs after failing to understand another in-drifter off Wasim. The responsibility was entirely on Faf du Plessis and David Miller to forge a partnership to arrest the collapse and although, they did well to hang around for a while, pacer Hasan Ali caught the Proteas off guard and the team could only muster 97/4 at the midway mark of the innings.
Miller and lower-order help South Africa put up a competitive total
After Du Plessis chopped a Hasan delivery onto the stumps, both JP Duminy and Wayne Parnell, too, got out with another couple of excellent deliveries from the same bowler, much to the dismay of South African fans. Duminy edged his shot to the slip and a beauty of a delivery beat Parnell completely to rattle his stumps. Miller, stubborn and pertinent on the crease despite all the mayhem, partnered Chris Morris to put on an important 47-run stand to save the team from the ignominy of a complete collapse, but still, there were no easy runs on offer. Morris was reprieved by Junaid Khan thanks to the bowler overstepping, but his big power-hitting never appeared and he was eventually snaffled by Junaid for 28 when the team
Morne Morkel gives South Africa a fighting chance
Debutant Fakhar Zaman got Pakistan off to a flyer as the 27-year old, partnering Azhar Ali, dealt in boundaries from the outset. However, Morne Morkel had some other plans in his mind as he dismissed both the set openers in the same over to help South Africa gain the early advantage. The Proteas pace attack followed up the wickets with three straight maidens piling more pressure on Mohammad Hafeez and Babar Azam which resulted in Pakistan finishing the first powerplay with only 42 runs on the board. The duo then took their time to find their footings in the match and patiently built up a 52-run partnership. De Villiers brought back Morkel into the attack to get the South African side the much-needed breakthrough and the right-arm pacer did just that when he sent Hafeez packing for 36. However, the incoming Shoaib Malik started his innings in the top gear and smacked two back-to-back boundaries to take Pakistan to 104-3 at the halfway mark of the innings.
Pakistan romp home after rain plays spoilsport
Shoaib Malik provided the Pakistan side with a major boost that eventually saw them being declared as winners as per the D/L method when heavy rains arrived to shorten the lifespan of the match. Following the result, now every team in the group has a realistic chance to make it to the semi-finals of the tournament while South Africa would have to clinch a victory against India to keep the hopes of winning the title alive.
AB de Villiers or Virat Kohli - who will score more runs?
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