A clinical performance on the field put Pakistan's World Cup campaign back on track by eliminating South Africa with a 49-run win on Sunday.
At Lord’s, which hosted its first match of the tournament -- Haris Sohail’s 59-ball 89, followed by a fine performance by its bowlers helped Pakistan stay alive in the race for semifinals.
After Sohail’s quick-fire guided the team to 308-7 in a must-win fixture on Sunday, Mohammad Amir (2-49), Wahab Riaz (3-46) and Shadab Khan (3-50) — ran through the middle-order to leave the Proteas stranded at 259-9.
Chasing a tricky target, South Africa lost Hashim Amla early in the innings after being trapped leg-before by Amir for two. However, South Africa put up some fight with captain Faf du Plessis (63) and Quinton de Kock (47) stitching a 87-run partnership for the second wicket.
As it happened| Pakistan beats South Africa
For a while, it looked the two could probably script a turnaround, but Shadab took out de Kock and Aiden Makram in quick succession. It was Amir who next removed a well-set du Plessis to put the pressure back on South Africa.
The run-chase could have stayed on track, had there been another solid stand. David Miller and Rassie van der Dussen did put up a 53-run partnership, but wasn’t enough to carry South Africa home.
A much-needed win for Pakistan after drawing flak for its defeat to arch-rival India last week — the Sarfaraz Ahmed-led side, however, put up a sloppy show on the field, dropping six catches which at the end did not hurt them.
Earlier, the 30-year-old Sohail bolstered Pakistan’s struggling batting by smashing nine boundaries and three sixes. Feeding on the good start given by openers — Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq with a 81-run partnership — Sohail carried the momentum forward.
The seasoned batsman was benched after Pakistan’s tournament opener against the West Indies, and up against a formidable South African pace attack, he added 81 runs for the fourth wicket with Babar Azam (69 off 80). The 30-year-old topped that with another brisk 71-run partnership with Imad Wasim.
With South Africa failing to tighten the grip, Pakistan scored 91 runs in the last ten overs.
South Africa’s pace ace, Kagiso Rabada, proved expensive — giving away 65 runs in 10 overs — though Lungi Ngidi scalped (3-64) and Imran Tahir (2-41) sneaked in with breakthroughs to go past past Allan Donald as the highest wicket-taker for the Proteas at World Cups with 39 wickets. But the bowling effort was not enough to restrict Pakistan below 300.
The innings break had Shakira’s famous number ‘Waka, Waka…’ playing at the venue. But surely this time was not for South Africa, as it failed to qualify for the knockouts since 2003.