Rain to the rescue as Proteas beat Pakistan

2013-11-20 22:32

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South Africa: 153/7 (De Kock 43, Amla 31, Du Plessis 22, Junaid Khan 2/24, Hafeez 2/25, Afridi 1/14) beat Pakistan: 60/2 (Nasir Jamshed 18, Mohammad Hafeez 13, Duminy 1/3, Tsotsobe 1/19) by four runs (Duckworth/Lewis method)

Heavy seasonal rain ended what was an evenly poised T20 international but Pakistan will look back at Nasir Jamshed’s wicket as the one that cost them, as they lost to South Africa by four runs.

It started as a heavy shower and even though it became lighter, the rain was enough to drown Pakistan’s hope.

Pakistan had started their chase confidently before losing Ahmed Shehzad, who chopped a Lonwabo Tsotsobe ball onto his stumps.

Mohammad Hafeez and Jamshed continued breezily before Jamshed gifted his wicket, tamely chipping the ball back to JP Duminy. With lightning and thunder on the horizon, it proved to be a key wicket.

Spin again was the bane of South Africa’s batting, reducing what looked like a formidable total to a moderate one. Teams that are 53/0 after five overs usually kick on to 170-plus, but when spin is introduced, somehow the Proteas become like deer trapped in headlights.

To understand how the Proteas floundered against spin, the statistics of Mohammad Hafeez and Shahid Afridi tell the story.

The dismissals weren’t all kamikaze but they were the result of pressure build-up. Hashim Amla played around a full delivery. Quinton de Kock holed out with a release shot as his boundary options were plugged while Henry Davids, mysteriously batting at four, misread an Afridi googly.

The pressure exerted by the spinners allowed the pacemen to reel in the other batsmen after De Kock’s and Amla’s ballistic start. Amid all of this, Pakistan decided to drop Saeed Ajmal. One could say the Proteas were fortunate as they were without AB de Villiers, who was rested.

The contrasting openers traded boundaries in an opening stand that produced 74 runs. It was artistry of the highest order against wayward and nervous bowling by Anwar Ali and Sohail Tanvir. However, once Hafeez had removed the two openers, Pakistan wrested the initiative and they weren’t prepared to let it go until the rain decided to have a say.

The circus moves to Cape Town on Friday in a game that Pakistan has to win to square the series.

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