Hashim Amla’s 81 helped South Africa build a base, but Pakistan hit back with regular strikes © Getty Images

By Nishad Pai Vaidya

Birmingham: Jun 10, 2013

Pakistan put in a spirited effort to restrict South Africa to 234 for nine in their ICC Champions Trophy 2013 encounter at Edgbaston, Birmingham on Monday. Hashim Amla scored 81 and anchored the innings, but Pakistan fought hard, bowled in the right areas. Pakistan’s fielding was good — Misbah-ul-Haq in particular was fantastic as he recorded three dismissals.

South Africa captain AB de Villiers won the toss and elected to bat first. They had to deal with a setback in the lead-up to this game as Morne Morkel was ruled out injured and Chris Morris came in his place. Dale Steyn continued to be on the sidelines due to injury. Aaron Phangiso replaced the pacer Rory Kleindveldt. Pakistan made only one change as Asad Shafiq made way for Umar Amin.

The Proteas openers got off to a sedate start and got to their fifty in the 14th over. Shortly thereafter, Mohammad Hafeez trapped Colin Ingram plumb in front as the left-hander tried to sweep but missed. Amla had a few strokes of luck as an edge went past his stumps and a chance was spilled at point.

Things just motored along as South Africa were content in taking their time. Faf du Plessis walked in at number three as Amla got to his fifty off 65 balls. They reached their hundred in the 25th over and were building for a late surge with wickets in hand.

There was a gradual shift in gears as du Plessis and Amla showed more urgency. In the process, du Plessis was out for 28 as AB de Villiers entered the field of play. Throughout the innings, Amla was trying to reverse-sweep. He even scored a boundary in that fashion. But, that got the better of him when he gloved a ball to short-third man off the bowling of Saeed Ajmal.

It was now left to Jean-Paul Duminy and de Villiers to take South Africa to a good total. There was no real change in pace as Pakistan’s bowlers kept a hold over proceedings. Then disaster struck as they approached the slog overs.

De Villiers and Duminy were both run-out in quick succession as the Proteas were yet to cross 200. A mix-up led to de Villiers’ dismissal, whereas Duminy lost his footing as he was sent back by David Miller and couldn’t get back in time. Both run-outs were effected by skipper Misbah-ul-Haq.

How much was that going to affect South Africa?

Shoaib Malik trapped Ryan McLaren as he walked across his stumps. The batsman called for a review, but replays indicated that the ball was just clipping the leg-stump. All eyes were on David Miller as the South African hopes rested on his shoulders. The boundary drought of almost nine overs came to an end in the 48th over as Miller smashed one through the leg-side.

Robin Peterson continued from where he left off against India. Some crucial boundaries at the end were a shot in the arm for the struggling side. It looked like South Africa were getting some momentum as the penultimate over of the innings by Junaid Khan went for 15. However, he hit back by scalping Miller’s wicket. Misbah was into the act again as he lept in the air to his right to pluck the ball in mid-air. Did someone say he is 39-years old?

Pakistan now need to chase 235 to win this game.

Brief Scores:

South Africa 234 for 9 in 50 overs (Hashim Amla 81, AB de Villiers 31; Mohammad Irfan 1 for 27) vs Pakistan

Full Scorecard

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