Champions Trophy 2017: Pakistan Registers Crucial Win In Yet Another Rain-Hit Contest
Pakistan produced a highly improved show in their second game of the group stage against a stronger looking South African side at Edgbaston, Birmingham. The Men in Green clinched a crucial 19-run win powered by rain, DLS calculations, disciplined bowling and some sensible batting.
Pakistan was in a tricky position and was fighting it hard when the rains came down pouring in the 27th over. The batting side was at 119 for 3 during the chase of 220 runs after facing off testing spells from Morne Morkel and others. But, Pakistan managed a stern show of resistance in the second innings which eventually made the win possible.
Debutant and opener Fakhar Zaman gave a positive start to the chase with his short burst of 31 off 23 balls before Morne Morkel turned the tide with double strikes in the 8th over which saw both the openers depart. The sudden loss saw the run rate become very, very sluggish. Mohammad Hafeez and Babar Azam had a tough time dealing with bouncers and tight lines. But they somehow hung around till the 24th over to keep the prospect of the knocking off the target alive. This show of resilience eventually ended up making the difference as Pakistan saw themselves 19 runs ahead of the DLS score at the time rains forced the covers to be brought on.
Earlier, batting first, South Africa saw themselves restricted for just 219/8 after 50 overs. David Miller’s unbeaten 75 off 104 balls was the only worthy knock from the Proteas side. It was a batting failure after a sound start to the tournament against Sri Lanka.
The Pakistanis produced a highly appreciable bowling performance after the rout against India. Right-arm seamer Hasan Ali was the best bowler on the day for Pakistan, snapping 3/24. Left-arm spinner Imad Wasim resurrected his performance by ending as the most economical bowler with figures of 2/20 while left-arm fast bowler Junaid Khan, who came in place of injured Wahab Riaz, ended with 2/53 to justify his position.
Part time offie Mohammad Hafeez, who was no used at all against India, also chipped in with 1/51 from his full spell of 10 overs. This combined effort made sure that South Africa was never able to get going. They managed timely strikes and refused to let the pressure built on the batting side ease up at all.
The decision to bat first was not merry at all for AB de Villiers. Things began going downhill after the end of the steady opening partnership between openers Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock. Left-arm spinner put his forgettable match against Indian behind and snapped Amla’s stay at the crease in the 9th over.
Five overs later, De Kock played a false sweep to end being LBW off Hafeez’s bowling. The biggest setback followed in the very next over after Imad tasted another success, perhaps the sweetest of his career so far, when he got rid of AB de Villiers for a golden duck. It was for the first time De Villiers was made to depart in such a fashion. Pakistan gained two big wickets in the space of just four balls.
The slump only worsened from that point. Miller, at one side, was batting positively. But, the scenes were absolutely contrasting at the other end where wickets kept falling regularly. Seamer Hasan Ali deepened the woes with his accuracy which resulted in three crucial wickets that of Faf du Plessis, JP Duminy and Wayne Parnell.
But, despite all the antics from Pakistan, the bowling side failed to wrap up the Proteas totally which logically was not a drawback but would have helped them morally. Miller stood firm from one end while all-rounder Chris Morris (28 from 45 deliveries) along with Kagiso Rabada (26 from 23 deliveries) made some valuable towards the end to stretch the innings till 50 overs and the South African total past the 200 runs mark.
South Africa: 219/8 (David Miller 75; Hasan Ali 3/24)
Pakistan: 119/3 (Babar Azam 31*; Morne Morkel 3/18)
Man Of the Match – Hasan Ali
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