08 March 2015
South Africa v Pakistan, 6 Key Moments
The Pakistan v South Africa game in Auckland was a low-scoring match, but it turned out to be a thriller.
Pakistan threw the race for Pool B finals spots wide open with its rain-affected 29-run win over South Africa.
Pakistan threw the race for Pool B finals spots wide open with its rain-affected 29-run win over South Africa in Auckland.
It was a match that had every twist and turn a cricket fan could wish for. Here are the six defining moments that made this game a classic:
1. Steyn’s screamer
Pakistan’s top order had struggled throughout the tournament but with Sarfraz Ahmed coming in for the out-of-form Nasir Jamshed, it made a careful but optimistic start in Auckland. At 30-0 in the ninth over, Ahmed Shehzad was just beginning to look settled when he miss-hit a slower ball from Kyle Abbott. It looked as though it would fall safely, but that was before Dale Steyn launched himself, taking a spectacular catch diving at full stretch. Suddenly South Africa had the wicket it needed.
2. Sarfraz caught short
Back in the Pakistan side and with a fifty beckoning, perhaps Ahmed Sarfraz got a little excited when he tried to turn a single into two when he was on 48*. A bullet-like throw from David Miller saw him caught well short of his crease and he was dismissed for 49.
Sarfraz had been looking very good, with five boundaries and three sixes, but his run out handed South Africa the wicket it needed.
While it was not a moment during the match, the decision to bring Sarfraz into the side turned out to be inspired – in addition to his 49, he also took a record-equalling six catches as ‘keeper and was named player of the match.
3. Going out after pouring rain
Pakistan was 196-5 when play was suspended for a second time due to rain. Upon resumption, Misbah-ul-Haq and Shahid Afridi were at the crease and with 10 overs remaining, a big score was still on the cards.
That changed one over later when Afridi took a big swing at a Steyn delivery, pulling high into the hands of JP Duminy in the deep.
From there the batsmen crumbled, losing 5-10 to be all out for 222.
4. Second-ball strike
Quinton de Kock has struggled to score this year, producing scores of 4, 0*, 66, 11, 7, 7, 12, 1 and 0since January 1. Nonetheless, the South Africa ‘keepers’ wicket is a valuable one and Pakistan was rightly thrilled when he edged one behind on the second ball of the innings.
Mohammed Irfan had the crucial first wicket and suddenly Pakistan’s confidence soared sky high.
5. The bowling change that changed the match
After losing the wicket of an out-of-form Quinton de Kock on the second ball of the innings, South Africa had recovered well to be 51-1 after seven overs. Misbah-ul-Haq made the bowling change and Rahat Ali came on, only to be smacked for 10 runs. He got his revenge in his next over though, picking up a wicket maiden and removing Faf du Plessis.
Wahab Riaz came on at the other end and was immediately effective, dismissing Hashim Amla first ball, before removing Rilee Rossouw seven balls later. Suddenly South Africa was 74-4 and in dire trouble.
6. The crucial wicket
As the Proteas wickets fell, there was still a sense they could get over the line as long as one man – AB de Villiers – remained at the crease. While Amla, du Plessis, Miller, Rossouw and Duminy fell, the skipper remained and looked every bit as dangerous as he has throughout the tournament to date.
It was going to take something special to remove de Villiers but with rain threatening and South Africa in a precarious position, the skipper was forced to move things along and it resulted in a top edge through to the safe gloves of Sarfraz.
Pakistan celebrated like the match was over and with 31 runs needed and Morne Morkel and Imran Tahir at the crease, it was just a matter of time until the final wicket fell. It came seven balls later and Pakistan capped off a famous victory.
As de Villiers said after the match, “It was all about me not getting out, and unfortunately I got out.”
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