South Africa’s dubious record of succumbing on crunch occasions continues as they fell short by 11 runs while chasing a modest total of 149 posted by Pakistan in a critical Super Eight stage match of the ICC T20 World Championship here.
Batting first, Pakistan’s top-order collapsed to 19 for 3,their worst performance in the first six overs in this tournament.
Salman Butt, the hero of the last match against New Zealand, failed to deliver and so did Khalid Latif, and Mohammad Hafeez.
Then came the Akmal brothers who started the recovery work. It was the younger Akmal, Umar, who shone with the bat hitting the South African bowlers out of the park on four occasions in his blistering 33 ball 51 run knock. Kamran made 37 from 33 with three fours and two sixes.
Skipper Shahid Afridi’s 18 ball innings of 30 runs had shades of the vintage ‘boom-boom’ Afridi, but more importantly it helped Pakistan reach a respectable total of 148 for seven in 20 overs.
Charl Langeveldt was the pick of the bowlers for South Africa, taking four for 19 in his quota of four overs, while Dale Steyn finished with a figures of one for 26.
Chasing a gettable target, South Africa’s batting order faltered inexplicably with none of the opening batsmen Graeme Smith or Herschelle Gibbs firing.
While Smith, who has been struggling with his form for quite some time now, looked rusty making a run a ball 13,Gibbs (3) gifted his wicket to medim pacer Abdul Razzaq.
Though AB deVilliers did showed some resistance hitting 53 of 41 balls, it proved to be all too late for the Proteas.
Saeed Ajmal was the prime destroyer of the South African innings taking four for 26 in his fours overs. Ajmal’s well-disguised ‘doosras’ baffled the South Africans, as none of the batsmen looked comfortable against him.
Ajmal was ably supported by Abdur Rehman who took 2 for 35. (ANI)