18 March 2013
Johannesburg’s Wanderers cricket stadium was pink all over on Sunday – the Proteas, the scoreboard, Castle Lager adverts and the fans – as the South African one-day international (ODI) team did its bit in the fight against breast cancer, with a world record thrown in for good measure during the third ODI against Pakistan.
It made for an impressive spectacle as a world record attempt for “the most people wearing a single colour, in one venue, for a good cause” was pursued in support of the PinkDrive. As a fund-raiser, the day was a fantastic success, with R184 460 being raised.
On the field, the action was fast-moving and big hitting as South Africa and Pakistan combined for 652 runs, including 19 sixes and 55 fours.
Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers, the world’s two top ranked ODI batsmen starred for the Proteas, while Shahid Afridi, the owner of the fastest ever ODI century, shone for Pakistan.
Pakistan captain Misbah ul-Haq won the toss and elected to field and that seemed to be a decent enough decision when Graeme Smith was out for only three and Colin Ingram followed him for 17, with the total on 42 in the 14th over. Amla and De Villiers, however, along with a superb cameo innings from Faf du Plessis, made it look like an ill-advised decision.
Together, Amla and De Villiers put on a third wicket world record partnership of 238 in an enthralling 30.2 overs. That bettered by a single run the previous record of 237 put on by Indian greats Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid against Kenya in the 1999 World Cup.
11th ODI century
Amla then departed, caught Misbah, bowled Wahab Riaz for a wonderful 122 off only 113 balls, with nine fours and a six. It was his 11th ODI century.
De Villiers saw the score past 300 before he went, caught at deep mid-wicket by Shoaib Malik off the bowling of Saeed Ajmal for an immensely innovative and entertaining 128. His 14th ODI century included 12 four and three sixes.
Du Plessis, who was out with one ball left in the innings, added a quick-fire 45 off just 19 deliveries, including three sixes, to help South Africa to a big 343 for 5 in their 50 overs.
Mohammed Irfan stood out among Pakistan’s bowlers – and not just because of his 7ft height – with a haul of 2 for 34 in seven overs, while Wahab Riaz suffered, conceding 93 runs in his 10 overs, although he did remove claim the wickets of Amla and Du Plessis.
Pakistan then made a reasonable start to their run chase, reaching 97 for 1 in the 17th over before Mohammed Hafeez departed for an attacking 57 off only 49 balls, having struck six fours and three sixes.
The inning stuttered after that as the Pakistanis slipped to 132 for 5, but the arrival of Shahid Afridi, the scorer of three of the seven fastest ODI centuries in history, gave the tourists hope as he took to the South African bowlers with relish.
Misbah was out with the total on 203 for 28, but Pakistan’s challenge depended on Afridi, not the skipper.
Game still on
“Boom Boom” was going hard at the South African bowling and winning. His innings appeared over in the 35th over, though, when Ryan McLaren knocked over Afridi’s wickets. A check on the delivery, however, revealed that McLaren had overstepped. Afridi was called back and the game was still on.
With McLaren having sent down a no ball, Afridi had a free hit, but the bowler bowled a wide. Afridi then caught the next delivery in the meat of his bat, in the arc, and launched a monsterous six onto the roof of the stadium! It’s difficult to imagine that the ground could have ever witnessed a bigger six.
When Smith put down Afridi off the bowling of Tsotsobe in the next over, one was left to wonder whether or not it was going to be Afridi’s and Pakistan’s day. Two balls later, he was out, caught off a full toss for a stunning 88 off only 48 balls, with five fours and seven sixes.
Wahab Riaz fought hard, with a career best 45 off 52 balls, but he was the last man out at the start of the 48th over as Pakistan were dismissed for 309, giving South Africa victory by 34 runs.
McLaren finished with 3 for 56 from nine overs, while Tsotsobe picked up three wickets too, but went for 74 runs.
The bottom line, though, was a South African victory and a two-one lead in the five-match one-day international series.
World record setters Amla and De Villiers shared the man of the match award.
The fourth ODI takes place in Durban on Thursday, 17 March, and the fifth and final ODI will be played in Benoni on Sunday, 24 March.
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