CHENOI: South Africa won the crucial match against Pakistan in the ICC World Cup match played in Chenoa.
Pakistan had scored 271-run against South Africa at 46.4 overs. The South African team chased the score in 47.1 overs.
South Africa fought back brilliantly and defended a modest target of 271.
Babar Azam won the toss and decided to bat first, hoping to put up a big total on a slow pitch. He opened the innings with Imam-ul-Haq, and they started cautiously against the disciplined bowling of South Africa. They added 21 runs in six overs, before Imam was caught behind off Jansen.
Babar was joined by Abdullah Shafique, who looked nervous on his World Cup debut. He edged a few deliveries, and was lucky to survive a close LBW appeal. He managed to score only nine runs in 17 balls, before he was trapped in front by Ngidi.
Pakistan were in trouble at 40 for 2 in the 11th over, and Babar found an able partner in Mohammad Rizwan, who played with positive intent. They rotated the strike well, and occasionally hit the boundaries. They brought up their 50-run partnership in the 20th over, and looked set for a big stand.
But then, South Africa introduced their spinners, and the game changed. Markram bowled a tight spell of four overs for 20 runs, while Maharaj kept the pressure from the other end. They dried up the runs, and forced the batsmen to take risks.
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Babar tried to break the shackles by stepping out to Maharaj, but he mistimed his shot and was caught at long-on for 50. He had faced 65 balls, and hit four fours and a six. He was disappointed with himself, as he walked back to the pavilion.
Pakistan were 115 for 3 in the 26th over, and needed a push in the middle overs. Rizwan and Iftikhar Ahmed tried to do that, but they found it hard to score against the spinners. They added 31 runs in seven overs, before Rizwan was stumped off Shamsi for 31.
Iftikhar followed soon after, caught at deep mid-wicket off Coetzee for 21. Pakistan were 156 for 5 in the 34th over, and in danger of being bowled out cheaply.
But then, Saud Shakeel and Shadab Khan came to the rescue. They played with aggression and flair, and took on the bowlers. They smashed seven fours and four sixes between them, and added 86 runs in nine overs. They took Pakistan past 200 in the 40th over, and then past 250 in the 45th over.
They looked set for a big finish, but then Shamsi struck again. He bowled Shadab for 43 in the 46th over, and then cleaned up Nawaz for 24 in the same over. He completed his four-wicket haul by dismissing Afridi for two in his next over.
Pakistan were reduced to 270 for 9 in the 46th over, and had lost four wickets for 14 runs. Wasim Junior and Haris Rauf tried to add some more runs, but they could only manage seven more before Rauf was caught at long-off off Ngidi.
Pakistan were all out for 270 in 46.4 overs, and had given South Africa a target of 271 to win. Saud and Babar were the top-scorers with 52 and 50 respectively, while Shamsi was the pick of the bowlers with four for 60.