Proteas back on track after victory over Pakistan

2013-06-10 22:08

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South Africa: 234/9 (Amla 81, De Villiers 31, Du Plessis 28, Junaid Khan 2/45, Shoaib Malik 1/27, Mohammad Irfan 1/27) beat Pakistan 167 (Misbah-ul-Haq 55, Nasir Jamshed 42, Umar Amin 16, McLaren 4/19, Tsotsobe 2/23, Morris 2/25) by 67 runs.

Pakistan were bowled out for 167 as South Africa secured a 67-run victory in their ICC Champions Trophy match at Edgbaston today.

The Proteas needed their bowlers to stand up and be counted and they lived up to expectations, arriving in the most emphatic fashion as they brushed Pakistan’s flaccid batting aside.

Today's match was another example where Misbah-ul-Haq’s batting was never going to be enough. Pakistan's bowling can only carry their batting for so long. South Africa were also let down by their batting but their’s was a case of poor running between the wickets.

While Misbah was at the wicket anything was possible, but South Africa’s disciplined bowling ensured he got little of the strike.

There were contributions here and there by Nasir Jamshed and Umar Amin but there was nothing else to write home about.

Their progress in the tournament will be dependent on two big West Indian wins over India and South Africa. They will have to beat India in Birmingham on Saturday, though, to stand any chance. South Africa will have to beat the West Indies in Cardiff on Thursday to cement their semi-final berth.

When debutant Chris Morris castled Imran Farhat in the fourth over, it was clear South Africa was going for the jugular. With the Lions seamer claiming Mohammad Hafeez in the eighth over to leave Pakistan tottering at 18/2, the walls were closing in on Pakistan quickly. The rest of the attack applied the squeeze.

Hashim Amla’s polished 81 propped up South Africa’s par total on a sluggish and turning track. It could have been more if it wasn’t for two silly run-outs when the set batsmen gave away their wickets.

In heavily overcast conditions, Proteas captain AB de Villiers took a massive gamble in making first use of the wicket. With Pakistan’s swing-heavy attack, it was a tough ask but Colin Ingram and Amla put up a 53-run opening partnership.

It was slow but necessary as they were given nothing to hit. With a heavily left-handed batting line-up, Misbah-ul-Haq just waited for the end of the first powerplay to introduce Mohammed Hafeez, who got rid of Ingram.

South Africa countered the tactic by bringing in Faf du Plessis at number three. As good a spinner as Hafeez can be, he’s predictable to right-handers and suddenly life was easy for South Africa.

Amla and du Plessis shared a cautious 69-run stand filled with delightful boundaries and risky running. The duo is quick between the wickets but they are not the best of callers.

While their batting was measured, their shot selection was questionable in terms of their dismissals. Their partnership proved to be the biggest of South Africa’s innings.

Du Plessis was caught at cover trying to pull the lanky Mohammad Irfan, who extracted the most bounce from his nine-foot delivery. Amla was the next to fall, reverse sweeping Saeed Ajmal to Hafeez at short third-man.

The shot would have been a success for Amla had he negated the Ajmal threat but it was greed that was the end of him.

He did, however, make the most of the life given to him by Umar Amin, who dropped him on 7 off Mohammed Irfan.

It was going to be up to De Villiers and JP Duminy to set up the back end slog when the score reached 183/3 in the 40th.

The run outs of De Villiers and JP Duminy cost the team crucial momentum but in the end, the bowlers rendered it unnecessary.

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