2017 ICC Champions Trophy: Sarfraz Ahmed Lauds ‘Aggressive’ Bowling and Fielding Efforts
Pakistan revived their hopes of staying alive in the Champions Trophy with a memorable 19 runs win over South Africa at Edgbaston, Birmingham in a rain- ravaged competition.
The win was made possible by their bowling attack led by the young Hasan Ali, sensible batting approach from Babar Azam and Mohammad Hafeez and the rain Gods who intervened the game midway in the second innings and ensured a win through the DLS jargon.
The match began with all sorts of uncertainties surrounding Pakistan after the lacklustre show against India. South Africa was no less a threat. However, just as it has happened most of the time in the past whenever we have Pakistan pushed to the corners, the Men in Green bounced back in the most unpredictable style to stun the AB de Villiers’ world No. 1 ranked side.
Bowling first, they managed to restrict South Africa for a paltry 219/8 in 50 overs. Right-arm seamer Hasan Ali led the way and ended up as the best bowler of the day for Pakistan with figures of 3/24. His effective spell put brakes on the South African run rate. Left-arm spinner Imad Wasim finished as the most economical bowler with figures of 2/20. He began the wicket taking and pressure building activities initially. Left-arm fast bowler Junaid Khan, who came in place of injured Wahab Riaz, was also successful with 2/53 and justified his position.
The chase was given a flying start by debutant Fakhar Zaman who hit 31 off 23 balls. However, Morne Morkel’s twin strikes in the 8th over, saw both the openers depart in a single over and push Pakistan into a sluggish mode.
Mohammad Hafeez and Babar Azam rallied the innings forward. The progress, however, was at snail’s pace, as the duo was challenged by bouncy bowling from Morkel & Co. But, luckily the pair managed to survive together till the 24th over after joining in the 8th over.
This resistance from them eventually ended up making the difference once the rain arrived, as the batting side saw themselves 19 runs ahead of the DLS par score when the rain began to pour and disrupted the game after the end of 27th over.
Sarfraz Khan was a relieved man during the post-match presser and expressed his happiness after the win. Here is what he had to say:
“It was a very important game for us. Credit would go to the bowlers and the fielders. The bowling was very aggressive and they bowled in the right areas.”
“Steve Rixon was very happy today, not quite the last time around. The fielding was excellent today. We had a very good team meeting and we discussed that all three departments must be good in big ICC trophies. Credit to the players who worked very hard.”
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