Pakistan stun South Africa with rain-hit, 19-run win

AFP, BIRMINGHAM, England

Fri, Jun 09, 2017 - Page 16

Pakistan put their miserable hammering by archrivals India behind them with a shock 19-run victory over South Africa at Edgbaston on Wednesday that kept their International Cricket Council (ICC) Champions Trophy semi-final hopes alive.

Just three days after suffering a humiliating 124-run defeat by title-holders India at Edgbaston in their opening group match, with former skipper Shahid Afridi among those slamming a “clueless” display, Pakistan’s return to the Birmingham ground saw them make a mockery of the rankings that had them bottom and South Africa top in the eight-team one-day international (ODI) tournament.

Having conceded 319-3 against India, Pakistan restricted South Africa to 219-8 after losing the toss.

After the spinners did the initial damage, paceman Hasan Ali took 3-24 in eight overs.

David Miller’s unbeaten 75 kept the Proteas in the game.

By the time Proteas fast bowler Morne Morkel took two wickets in three balls, Pakistan were faltering at 41-2 under the floodlights in the day-night fixture.

However, Babar Azam (31 not out) and Shoaib Malik (16 not out) took Pakistan to 119-3 off 27 overs when heavy rain stopped play at 7:41pm.

That left them well ahead of their target score of 101, so when the umpires finally decided more than two hours later that a resumption was impossible, Pakistan had beaten South Africa under the Duckworth-Lewis method for the second successive ICC 50-over tournament following a 29-run win at the 2015 Cricket World Cup.

It left Group B wide open, with three teams on a win apiece after South Africa defeated Sri Lanka by 96 runs at the Oval last week.

“It’s a very important win for us,” Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed said. “We were good in all departments today. “[Pakistan fielding coach] Steve Rixon was very happy today, we didn’t field well the other day, today we were much better.”

Man-of-the-match Hasan added: “We all worked very hard on our fielding.”

South Africa captain A.B. de Villiers, who suffered the first golden duck in his 212 career ODI innings during the Proteas’ top-order collapse, said: “They bowled pretty well, put us under pressure.”