The 7th match of the ICC Champions Trophy featured Pakistan taking on South Africa at Edgbaston, Birmingham. Although the Proteas were deemed as the favourites to win the match, Pakistan turned up with a surprise performance and won the match hands down.
South Africa opted to bat first after winning the toss and had a decent opening partnership between Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock. But both of them departed in quick succession and were followed by the skipper AB de Villiers soon.
Faf du Plessis and David Miller began the repair work and brought some sort of solidity to the innings. South Africa were still in a good shape with the presence of the experienced duo at the crease. But it didn’t go as per the plan for them as the Pakistani pacer Hasan Ali had other ideas.
The turning point
Miller and du Plessis had added 29 runs for the 4th wicket and took the score to 90/3 after 22 overs. Hasan Ali came into the attack for the first time to bowl the 23rd over. He had a forgettable outing against India in the last game but was determined to wash that away.
With just the second ball of his spell, he cleaned up du Plessis. The batsman tried to punch a delivery that was slightly back of a length but the movement off the pitch induced an inside edge that cannoned onto the stumps. Faf had to go back after scoring 26 off 44 balls as the score read 90/4.
The pacer went for 2 and 1 runs respectively in the next 2 overs and kept the pressure intact on the batsmen. He was bowling with a lot of intent, mixed his lengths and consistently troubled Miller and the new man JP Duminy.
In his 4th over on the trot, he got awarded for his excellent bowling once more. It was the left-handed Duminy who edged a fullish delivery outside off delivered from around the wicket. Babar Azam at slip took the catch to send the batsman packing for 8 as half the South African side was back in the hut for 118.
Hasan Ali wasn’t going to settle for that much. The new batsman Wayne Parnell was in his sight and the bowler dismantled the stumps of the left-handed batsman. The peach of a delivery first up left Parnell in disbelief.
From 90/3, South Africa were left reeling at 118/6, all due to the devastating bowling from Ali. It was a wonderful effort to rattle some of the best batsmen in the world. There was a bit on offer for the pacers and the 23-year-old made full use of that.
How the game panned out
David Miller was still at the crease and he needed some support from the tail-enders. He found an able hand in the form of Chris Morris and decided to spend some time at the crease without losing wickets.
The duo added 47 runs for the 7th wicket before Morris was removed by Junaid Khan in the 43rd for 28. Kagiso Rabada was the next to hold one end while Miller started to open up at the other end. They shared a stand of 48 runs for the 8th wicket and took the team past 200.
Rabada was picked up by Junaid in the penultimate over for 26 off 23 balls. Miller stayed unbeaten at 75 off 104 balls with 1 four and 3 sixes as he took his side to a competitive 219/8 at the end of 50 overs. It was a good recovery after a flurry of wickets during the middle stage.
In reply, the debutant Fakhar Zaman went on the attack from the outset. He didn’t spare either Rabada or Morris and the score reached 32/0 after 5 overs. Azhar Ali played second fiddle to Fakhar and didn’t try to match him stroke for stroke.
But Morne Morkel halted the progress and dismissed both the openers in the 8th over. Pakistan went on the back foot and played 3 maidens in a row. Mohammad Hafeez and Babar Azam brought stability to the chase and added 52 runs for the 3rd wicket.
Hafeez was the 3rd wicket to fall in the 24th over courtesy Morkel who bagged his 3rd wicket. There was a certain rain threat looming over the match and Shoaib Malik was fully aware of that. He ensured that the score was past the DLS par score.
The rain did interrupt and Pakistan’s score read 119/3 after 27 overs and they were 19 runs ahead of the DLS par score. As it has happened quite a few times in the past, the rain had the final say and Pakistan were declared the winners by the DLS method.Published 08 Jun 2017, 08:44 IST