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Pacers power Pakistan to seven-wicket triumph

After limiting South Africa to 202 with all-round bowling effort, Farhat and Hafeez seal win with half-centuries

Pacers power Pakistan to seven-wicket triumph - Cricket News
Imran Farhat laid the foundation of Pakistan's chase with a patient half century.
A controlled show from the pace-bowling unit and a chase set up by half-centuries from Imran Farhat and Mohammad Hafeez helped Pakistan to a seven-wicket win with 4.3 overs to spare against South Africa at the Oval in London on Monday (June 3). It was the only warm-up outing for both sides ahead of the Champions Trophy that starts on June 6. 

Pakistan was well served by the pace bowling trio of Junaid Khan (2 for 42), Asad Ali (3 for 30) and Wahab Riaz (3 for 30), as it helped restrict South Africa to a modest 202 for 9, after Misbah-ul-Haq, the Pakistan captain, won the toss and sent South Africa in. 

With the rules permitting both teams to give all squad members a go, South Africa overcame a nightmare start via a 94-run stand for the eighth wicket between JP Duminy and Ryan McLaren, who came together with their team tottering at 83 for 7 in 22 overs. McLaren, who hit 55 off 72 balls for South Africa’s lone half-century score, took the lead in the stand while Duminy (43 off 91) played second fiddle. 

Their stand was broken after 22.3 overs when Ali castled McLaren, but the length of the association spared South Africa the blushes of being bowled out in a warm-up match with an extended batting line-up. 

Pakistan’s chase got off to a good start, and even though Nasir Jamshed fell early to a run-out with Hashim Amla scoring a direct hit, Hafeez and Farhat came together in an 85-run stand that kept Pakistan well on course.  The bowlers had given Pakistan’s batsmen the luxury of a comfortable asking rate, and none of the batsmen needed to play anything other than normal cricketing shots. 

Hafeez retired at the half-way stage of Pakistan’s innings with 54 off 71, but with 120 runs on the board in 25 overs, Pakistan could afford to have him back in the hut and give the others a go. The batsmen’s task was also made simpler when Dale Steyn went off the field after bowling only five overs at the start.

Reassuringly from South Africa’s point of view, Steyn’s departure was termed merely precautionary and he had no serious injury.

The bowlers did spark brief hopes of a late fight-back when Farhat (56 off 82) and Asad Shafiq both fell in quick succession to Lonwabo Tsotsobe, but with only 47 runs needed in 15.3 overs, all South Africa could do was delay the inevitable.

The win, when it came, was delivered in some style by Misbah, who hit Farhaan Behardien back over his head for a six, to set the seal on the perfect warm-up for Pakistan.

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