Birmingham June 8 (TNS): South Africa made 219 for eight after winning the toss against Pakistan in a Group B Champions Trophy match at Edgbaston on Wednesday.
Pakistan has to win this match to keep alive hopes of qualifying for the semi-finals after a humiliating defeat by title-holders India in their tournament opener at Edgbaston on Sunday, produced a good bowling display against the Proteas.
Team Pakistan appears to have watered-down the momentum it created courtesy fiery cameo of 31 off 23 by debutant Fakhar Zaman. His inning was curtailed by Morkel as he edged his outswinger.
In the very same over, former skipper Azhar Ali (9) played an unsuccessful uppercut to give an easy catch to Imran Tahir.
Soon after the dismissal of the top order, Pakistan has played three consecutive maiden overs.
After a brief dull, Mohammad Hafeez and Babar Azam started rotating strike and playing stroke. South Africa has also lost its review on the lbw call of spinner Imran Tahir.
Hafeez was sent back to the pavilion after playing an unsuccessful pull short on a short pitch delivery by Morkel.
Early, in the match, Hasan Ali took three wickets as Pakistan completed a stunning turnaround in the field to restrict South Africa.
Just three days after conceding 319 for three against arch-rivals India in a crushing 124-run opening defeat by the title-holders at Edgbaston, Pakistan were a transformed side on their return to the Birmingham ground.
Their spinners did the initial damage as South Africa slumped to 61 for three before paceman Hasan, striking twice in two balls, followed up on his way to figures of three for 24 in eight overs.
South Africa were indebted to David Miller´s 75 not out after their top-order slump.
Miller received good support from Chris Morris and Kagiso Rabada in seventh and eight-wicket stands of 47 and 48 respectively.
Such was Pakistan´s command in the field, they inflicted the first golden duck in the 221-match one-day international career of South Africa captain AB de Villiers.
Given totals of 300 are now generally regarded as ´par´ in ODI cricket, Pakistan were clearly on top at the innings break.
However, the way they collapsed to 164 all out against India meant the Proteas were still in this game.
South Africa came into Wednesday´s match as firm favourites.
Not only are they top of the ODI rakings compared to Pakistan´s eighth, but they beat Sri Lanka by 96 runs in their tournament opener at the Oval last week.
But none of that counted for very much after de Villiers won the toss in this day/night fixture.
Early strikes by Imad Wasim and Mohammad Hafeez got rid of openers Hashim Amla (16), Quinton de Kock (33) and skipper AB de Villiers (golden duck), before Hasan Ali leveraged the pressure to get quick wickets and send South Africa reeling.
The pacer had Faf du Plessis clean bowled for 26, followed shortly afterwards by JP Duminy caught in the slips. A brilliant delivery then sent Wayne Parnell’s stumps flying, reducing the Proteas to 118-6.
Chris Morris fell prey to a deceptive delivery of Junaid Khan, the bowler had earlier bold him, however, on a no-ball, later in another over Khan also took the wicket of Rabada, courtesy a stunning catch by Hasan Ali.
David Millier scored a steady half-century while braving brilliant death over bowling by Junaid Khan and Mohammad Amir.
Earlier South Africa won the toss and elected to bat first.
Young Pakistan Super League sensation Fakhar Zaman is making his ODI debut, as Pakistan desperately seek to live another day in their Champions Trophy campaign.
Pakistan, the lowest-ranked team in the tournament, lost their opening game against archrivals India by 124 runs, sparking criticism over their playing strategy and selection. Today is another chance for the young captain Sarfraz Ahmed’s team to come back from behind and revive hopes of billions of fans by beating South Africa, who have already won their first game against Sri Lanka.
“We would have liked to bat too. Two changes, Wahab and Shehzad not playing. Fakhar and Junaid come in. Morale is high,” Sarfraz said at the toss.
South Africa captain AB de Villiers said, “We batted pretty well in the last game. A couple of games were played on this pitch. May break up a bit more. Had good intensity for 80% of the game, if we could get that to 100%, we’ll be a good team.”
History hasn’t favoured Pakistan against the Proteas. The Green Shirts have lost both of their previous Champions Trophy matches against South Africa (2006 and 2013 editions). In the World Cup encounters, Pakistan have won one and lost three against the Proteas. It’s been a tournament of rain delays, hasn’t it? Pakistan will win by 19 runs, if it ends like this. How’s that possible, you ask? We’ve got you covered on how DLS works, with our explainer. TNS/Reuters