Pakistan defeated South Africa by 19 runs via Duckworth-Lewis method in a rain-hit game to remain in contention for the semifinals of the ICC Champions Trophy on Wednesday.
After an embarrassing defeat against India, Pakistan produced a dominant bowling performance to subdue the Proteas, opening up Group B for various semifinal scenarios.
Pakistan spinners and pacers bowled their hearts out to restrict South Africa to a modest 219 for eight on a slowish Edgbaston wicket after being asked to bowl.
Pakistan were comfortably placed in their chase at 119 for three in 27 overs when rain interrupted the proceedings. At that stage, Pakistan were 19 runs ahead according to the DLS method.
The contest could not be resumed due to persistent drizzling and Pakistan were declared winners of the game.
Had it not been for a fighting knock from David Miller (75 not out), South Africa would have even struggled to get close to 200-run mark.
It was Miller’s slowest fifty in ODI cricket as he took 83 balls to complete it but it came at a crucial time for his side. Miller’s 75-run knock had only four boundaries.
These two partnerships after South Africa were struggling at 118 for six, propped up the Proteas innings.
Pakistan had made a steady start to their chase with Fakhar Zaman (31) and Azhar Ali (9) putting on board 40 runs before Morne Morkel sent back both in space of three balls.
Young batsman Babar Azam though dug his heels and raised a 52-run stand with Mohammaed Hafeez (26) to deny Proteas furher inroads in their innings.
Morkel was at it again as he broke the partnership by getting rid of Hafeez but Malik remained solid to lead Pakistan to a much-needed win.
Seasoned Shoaib Maik (16) then combined well with young Babar Azam (31) to ensure they do suffer no more setback. They added 52 runs for the fourth wicket.
Earlier, the spinners choked the Proteas in the beginning with three strikes and later the pacemen pulled the rug from under South Africa’s feet with fiery spells.
Left-arm spinner Imad Wasim took two wickets upfront while paceman Hasan Ali (3/18) wiped off the middle order in a sensational three-wicket burst that turned the tide in the favour of Pakistan.
Pacers Mohammed Amir and Junaid Khan (2/53) did not take many wickets but peppered the South Africans with well-calculated yorkers to further choke them.
Pakistan spinners proved very effective early in the South African innings with Wasim (2/20) and Mohammed Hafeez (1/51) cleaning up the top-order within 15 overs.
Wasim, introduced in the ninth over, struck with his second ball to break the steady opening stand. He trapped consistent Hashim Amla (16) and then handed skipper AB De Villiers (0) his first ever golden duck in the One-Day format.
De Villiers flashed hard at one but hit straight to point where Hafeez took a simple catch.
Mohammed Hafeez sent back well-set Quinton de Kock (33), who used his feet very well before attempting a sweep and was caught in front of the wicket.
Together, they bowled 14 overs in tandem, not giving many free runs to the Proteas batsmen.
Faf du Plessis (26) and David Miller had to work hard to keep the scoreboard ticking but they could not build a big partnership as paceman Hasan Ali came out to ball and removed the former with the second ball of his spell.
Ali pitched it slightly outside off, du Plessis went for a drive but dragged it back onto his stumps. It left South Africa reeling at 90 for four in 22.2 overs.
The paceman wreaked havoc a few overs later when he sent back JP Duminy (8) and Wayne Parnell (0) in successive balls. Duminy chased a widish delivery and ended up caught in slip by Babar Azam while a faster one crashed through the defence of Parnell.
The wickets meant South Africa were in tatters, 118 for six, putting Pakistan on top in the contest. Miller and Morris repaired the innings a bit before Junaid Khan broke their stand.