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Pakistan beat South Africa by 29 runs

Pakistan vs South Africa

Auckland: Pakistan beat South Africa by 29 runs in their pool B ODI cricket match of the ICC World Cup here today.

Captain Misbah-ul-Haq once again stood out with a gritty 56 as Pakistan stumbled to 222 all out against South Africa in a rain-reduced 47 overs-a-side Pool B match of the cricket World Cup, here today.

Put into bat, Pakistan had a decent start with wicketkeeper-batsman Sarfaraz Ahmed making a run-a-ball 49, but the rest of the batting, barring Misbah and to some extent Younis Khan (37) and Shahid Afridi (22), once again slipped away as the 1992 champions were bundled out in 46.4 overs.

Misbah in 86-ball stay not only bagged 5000 ODI runs but also tried hard to hold the innings together. Interestingly the batsman, who has 42 ODI fifties under his belt, is devoid of a single century in the 50-over format.

The innings though saw just a few partnerships prosper as Sarfaraz and Younis stitched up a 62-run second wicket stand and then Misbah was involved in a few stand-ins with Younis and Afridi.

But the partnerships were few and far between as Dale Steyn (3-30) and company proved to too hot to handle for the frail Pakistan batting.

Steyn was ably supported by new-ball partner Kyle Abbott (2-40) and first-change medium pacer Morne Morkel (2-25) as leg-spinner Imran Tahir (1-38) and medium-pacer AB de Villers (1-43) also chipped in with crucial strikes.

The Proteas fielding also lived up to its reputation with Steyn picking up a good running catch to send back opener Ahmed Shehzad (18) and then Rilee Rossouw snapped up Younis at cover.

But Steyn’s effort will certainly be rated high in this tournament as the supreme athlete pulled off a breathtaking catch while running away towards long on in an attempt to get at Shehzad’s mistimed chip over midwicket. In the end he was able to dive with both hands outstretched to pluck the white ball just inches from the ground.

The innings saw two rain stops in the 37th and the 41st over. But the breaks only helped South Africa get back at Pakistan, who once again floundered to a below-par score in the 50-over showpiece event.

Brief Scores:

Pakistan: 222 all out

South Africa: South Africa 202 in 33.3 overs (target 232 in 47 overs via Duckworth/Lewis method) (A B de Villiers 78, Mohammed Irfan 3/52).

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