PAK vs SA, T20 World Cup: Babar Azam's men thrash Proteas; keep qualification hopes alive
Pakistan turned to their A-game and handed South Africa their first defeat of the tournament. Led by Shadab Khan's 20-ball fifty and Iftikhar Ahmed's 51, Pakistan turned around the game in no time and put up a huge total of 185 on board.
Chasing 185, South Africa just couldn't get going. Skipper Temba Bavuma was the sole positive for them in an otherwise forgettable game. For Pakistan, it was Shaheen Afridi who took three wickets and was the pick among the bowlers.
Shadab Khan produced a special all-round effort as Pakistan kept their semifinal hopes alive with a 33-run win over South Africa in a rain-curtailed T20 World Cup match here on Thursday. Shadab first led Pakistan's strong batting display with a scintillating 22-ball 52, propelling them to 185 for nine after opting to bat.
Shaheen Shah Afridi (3/14) and Shadab (2/16) then blew away the South African top order as the Proteas could manage 108 for 9 in 14 overs.
As per DLS method, South Africa were set a revised target of 142 runs in 14 overs after the rain interruption. With the win, Pakistan (4 points) moved up to the third spot in group 2 While South Africa (5 points) continued to stay second behind leaders India (6 points).
While Shaheen got rid of the dangerous Quinton de Kock (0) and Riley Rossouw (7), Shadab accounted for skipper Temba Bavuma (36) and Aiden Makram (20) before rain interrupted play. With South Africa needing 73 off five overs after rain cut short the game by six overs, Tristan Stubbs (18) and Heinrich Klaasen (15) came all guns blazing.
Under the pump, Klaasen slapped Shadab for a four before hitting Shaheen for back-to-back boundaries through the cow corner and over mid-off but couldn't keep the antics going as the left-armer forced an inside edge to claim South Africa's fifth wicket.
Also Read: Babar Azam, Where Are You?
South Africa missed the services of their ace batter David Miller who was ruled out due to an injury as the Proteas lost wickets at regular intervals in a bid to hit boundaries and sixes. Earlier, Iftikhar Ahmed made 51 in 35 balls and anchored the innings after they were tottering at 43/4 in the seventh over. Shadab, who reached his half-century in 20 balls, struck four sixes and three fours in his whirlwind knock.
Opting to bat after winning the toss, Pakistan lost an early wicket in Mohammed Rizwan, who played on after being cramped for room by a Wayne Parnell delivery that nipped back just enough to create problems for the batter.
Drafted into the squad as a reinforcement for an injured Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Haris came in at the fall of the first wicket and immediately started finding the fence. With the help of three sixes and two fours, Haris smashed 28 off 11 balls.
However, Haris was trapped in front of the wicket by Anrich Nortje after the batter shuffled across to play the ball through midwicket but failed to connect. Haris reviewed but the decision stayed as Pakistan, from 38 for one, slipped to 43 for four in a span of two overs.
The in-form Iftikhar, along with Mohammad Nawaz (28 off 22 balls), steadied the innings with a partnership of 52 runs for the fifth wicket before the latter was out lbw to left-arm wrist spinner Tabraiz Shamsi. Shadab joined Iftikhar and started accelerating straightway to prop up Pakistan in the back-10. Anrich Nortje was the most successful bowler for South Africa with figures of 4/41.
It has now all come down to the last day of the Super 12 Stage. Pakistan vs Bangladesh, India vs Zimbabwe, South Africa vs Netherlands - The fate of Group 2 will be decided at the very last moment, and they way this World Cup has panned out, expect the unexpected.
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