Proteas choke again

2012-09-28 13:48

South Africa: 133/6 (JP Duminy 48, AB De Villiers 25, Mohammad Hafeez 2/23, Yasir Arafat 2/25)
Pakistan: 136/8 (Umar Akmal 43*, Umar Gul 32, D Steyn 3/22, R Peterson 2/15)
Pakistan won by two wickets with two balls remaining.

South Africa’s reprised their choking habits in ICC tournaments when they succumbed to Pakistan in their opening Super Eight fixture in Colombo, Sri Lanka, today.

Batting first on a dry, low bouncing track at the R. Premadasa Stadium, the Proteas overcame a slow start to post a competitive total.

It was anchored by an excellent 38-ball 48 by JP Duminy, but most of South Africa’s batsmen were strangled by Pakistan’s assortment of spinners, who in their combined 15 overs, conceded only 87 runs.

Robin Peterson, JP Duminy and Johan Botha returned the favour in kind, taking 4/30 in their combined eight overs, but an inexplicable decision by captain AB de Villiers to use the faster bowlers at the back end of the chase backfired as an unlikely hero in Umar Gul stepped up.

His innings of 32 off 17 balls (2x4, 3x6), turned the tide in Pakistan’s favour, as they needed 44 runs of 24 balls.

Umar Akmal, who guided the chase with a perfectly paced 41-ball 43, sealed the deal with a six off Morne Morkel’s second ball in the last over.

Saeed Ajmal’s tickled boundary to third man confirmed South Africa’s legendary choking ability.

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