Unpredictable Pakistan stun Proteas

- island.lk

Rex Clementine
in Sydney

Remember what happened in the 1992 World Cup? Pakistan had a disastrous campaign and were almost out of the tournament when Imran Khan vowed to fight like cornered tigers. Fight they did and stunned every team winning the trophy at MCG. In this World Cup, after two last ball defeats to arch-rivals India and Zimbabwe, Babar Azam’s team had very little momentum with them when they met South Africa, who had been unbeaten in the tournament. But they shocked the tournament favourites with a massive 33 run win last night in Sydney.

South Africa is a side that fields superbly but they had a rare off day with misfields and dropped catches and like Sri Lanka paid a huge price. Despite the big win and their Net Run Rate soaring, Pakistan going through to the semis is highly uncertain as they have to expect that results of other teams in their group works for them. At 43 for four inside seven overs, Pakistan innings had little momentum. A 52 run stand for the fifth wicket between Ifthikar Ahmed and Mohammad Nawaz steadied their innings before Ifthikar with Shadab Khan took the game completely away from South Africa. They added 82 runs for the sixth wicket in just 36 balls with both batsmen reaching half-centuries.

 While Ifthkar needed 33 balls to the milestone, Shadab got there in 20 balls with back to back sixes against probably the quickest bowler in the planet Anrich Nortje. Pakistan finished on 185 for nine.Shadab made an impact with the ball as well picking up two wickets in his first over. Rain gave South Africa a revised target of 142 in 14 overs. There was not much fight by them as they managed only 108 for nine.

After beating India, South Africa were expected to top the group but now if India wins their last game against Zimbabwe, the Proteas will have to settle for the second slot.Sri Lanka will be back at SCG today (Friday) for a net session in the afternoon ahead of their last group game against England. They would be hoping today that either Afghanistan beats Australia or New Zealand go down to Ireland to have any hopes of going through.

Brief Scores:

Pakistan 185/9 in 20 overs (Shadab Khan 52, Iftikhar Ahmed 51; Anrich Nortje 4-41) beat South Africa 108/9 in 14 overs (Temba Bavuma 36, Aiden Markram 20; Shaheen Afridi 3-14, Shadab Khan 2-16) by 33 runs (DLS Method)

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