Chennai, The Gulf Observer: South Africa defeated Pakistan by one wicket in a World Cup thriller on Friday pushing Babar Azam’s men closer towards elimination from the mega tournament.
Chasing 271 to win, South Africa reached their target with 16 balls to spare when tailender Keshav Maharaj hit a boundary off spinner Mohammad Nawaz.
South Africa now have five wins and one defeat from six games while Pakistan have lost four matches in succession after winning their first two but remain in semi-final contention.
Temba Bavuma and his men had a few hiccups during the chase of 271 but Aiden Markram’s impressive knock of 91 pushed them to the finish line.
Earlier, Pakistan were bowled out for 270 in 46.4 overs. Tabraiz Shamsi bagged figures of 4/60 while Marco Jansen finished with figures of 3/49. Emerging pacer Gerald Coetzee took two wickets for 2/42.
Pakistan lost both their openers – Abdullah Shafique (9) and Imamul Haq (12) – for cheap scores as Marco Jansen struck twice to bring the team under pressure.
Skipper Babar Azam (50) and Mohammad Rizwan tried to build a partnership in order to boost the total but Gerald Coetzee dismissed the latter for 31. The Pakistan captain was removed for 50 and Iftikhar Ahmed fell for 21 by Tabraiz Shamsi.
Saud Shakeel (52) and Shadab Khan (43) took the aggressive route and put scores on the board with fiery boundaries. After their removal, Mohammad Nawaz tried to keep up the momentum so a reasonable total could be built against the Proteas. However, he pulled poorly on Jansen’s delivery and was caught on the off side.
In the chase, Quinton de Kock (28) started aggressively, however, he was caught by Wasim Jr. on the bowling of Shaheen Afridi. Skipper Temba Bavuma (24) also took the charge but Wasim removed him.
Rassie Van der Dussen and Aiden Markram steered along but two quick wickets brought Pakistan back. Markram paired with Miller to post a 70-run stand for the fifth wicket until Shaheen removed Miller (29) while Wasim Jr had the better of Jansen (20) to give some hope to Pakistan.