After having lost the first game to New Zealand, Pakistan have jumped back into the competition by registering a huge victory, a margin of 10 wickets, over South Africa. For the latter, it’s been two defeats in a row, the first one being against England, despite Quinton de Kock’s lone efforts.
After winning the toss and opting to bowl first, Pakistan made their decision count as they were able to contain the South African batting for a majority of their innings. The South African batting started off well in the first few overs with Quinton de Kock taking charge along with Temba Bavuma’s support but the partnership soon ended in the third over and since then the innings only went downhill. The seventh wicket fell in the 15th over and in the next five overs the Proteas could only manage 31 runs, also losing two wickets. In the end, they were able to put up a total of 132/9.
In reciprocation Pakistan, chasing a target of 133, looked super confident and smooth in their batting. Together Babar Azam, who started slow and steady, and Fakhar Zaman sailed the ship for Pakistan without any hiccups and all the resistance from South African bowlers were negated by the impeccable batting. The match ended in the 14th over with Pakistan losing no wickets and both Babar and Fakhar scoring half-centuries.
To me, the turning point of the game came pretty early in Pakistan’s chase of 133. It was the third over, bowled by Steyn, and after a fairly good first over bowled by him, the third over was rather a disaster. He gave away 16 runs in that over and since then there was no looking for the opening duo of Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam, who added 134 runs in the unbeaten partnership.
Highs and Lows
I believe the high of the game was the sixth over, which followed two high scoring overs, in which 11 runs were scored off Dale Steyn. Pakistan already claimed the edge in the game and the six and boundary scored by Zaman, who was on 39* off 22 at that point, put the team completely on top and South Africa almost out of the game. The powerplay of the Pakistan innings was an absolute T20 delight!
According to me, the low of this game was South Africa’s batting form, barring Quinton de Kock of course. Even in the previous game, against England, the batting had struggled despite the skipper’s unbeaten 67-ball 124. South Africa had lost the game to England because de Kock found no support after Bavuma’s dismissal. Even today, de Kock(55 off 47) found no support from his partners except for a few cameos.
Powerplay exploitation: - South Africa (7/10) and Pakistan (7/10)
At the end of the Powerplay, South Africa were 49/1, having just scored 8 runs off Shaheeh Shah Afridi’s over. While Quinton de Kock was on 23* off 16 at that point, he found a good partnership in the new batsman in Rassie van der Dussen, after Temba Bavuma’s early dismissal. Going by the first six overs of South Africa’s innings, a promise of a good total was still there.
On the other hand, at the end of the powerplay, Pakistan were soaring high on 62/0 with a run rate of 10.33 while the asking rate at that point was only 5.07. Together Babar Azam and Fakhar Zaman set the stage for a perfect and smooth chase of 133. The three expensive overs in the Powerplay, two bowled by Steyn and the other by Imran Tahir, all going above ten put Pakistan on top in the game.
Middle overs maneuvering- South Africa (3/10) and Pakistan (10/10)
Despite being at a decent position at the end of the first six overs, South Africa’s innings went downhill in the presence of de Kock. From 49/1 at the end of powerplay, the Proteas could only manage 101/7 at the end of the 15th over. The South Africa skipper just stood there, batting on 44* off 38 at that point, trying to add some runs while watching his partners fall one by one for low scores.
On the other hand, Pakistan’s middle overs journey was a smooth sail against the South African bowlers who were all almost equally beaten all around the park. From 62 for no loss at the end of the first six overs and only 71 required off 84 deliveries, the Azam-Zaman duo further accelerated the innings and finished the chase by the end of the 14th over, without losing a wicket.
Death Bowling: - Pakistan ( 7/10) and South Africa (nil)
At the end of the 15th over, South Africa were already under pressure with a score of 101/7 and all Pakistan bowlers had to do was to restrict them to a low total - with or without bowling them all out. While the Proteas weren’t bowled all out, they lost nine wickets at the end and could only manage to add 31 runs in the death overs, with Afridi and Shadab Khan doing a fine job with the ball.
On the other hand, as Pakistan had successfully completed the chase by the end of the 14th over, there were no death overs for South Africa to bowl and hence we’ve rated it nil.
Match Frenzy O Meter - Average
It was a fairly one-sided game, favouring Pakistan, who have bounced back into the Super Sixes competition by a solid win against South Africa today. While the latter’s innings was quite dull, the Pakistan openers’ performance did add some spark to the dead game. All in all, it was a pretty average T20 contest.