11 June 2013
South Africa produced a focused and intense performance when they most needed it to crush Pakistan by 67 runs in front of a lively crowd in an ICC Championships Trophy Group B match at Edgbaston on Monday.
On a difficult pitch, in a game they had to win to keep their semi-finals hopes alive, the Proteas posted 234 for 9 after AB de Villiers elected to bat, and then bowled the Pakistanis out for 167 in 45 overs.
With Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis, Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel all missing the team was without four of its leading players, but Hashim Amla was still there and he delivered a man-of-the-match winning performance by scoring 81 off 97 deliveries with the bat.
Ryan McLaren, meanwhile, continued to put on an excellent impression of Kallis by following up his unbeaten 71 against India with a superb 4 for 19 in eight overs with the ball against the Pakistanis.
Pakistan’s fragile batting was once again their undoing. Of the South African top six, only David Miller missed out on reaching 20 (by a single run), while only two of the Pakistanis made it past 20. In fact, only four players in their entire innings hit double figures and those are stats that are not going to win any team many games.
At the post-match presentations, captain AB de Villiers said: “A lot of things pleased me. I am really delighted. I thought we played great cricket against India and were so disappointed to come up short there, but it makes this victory so much sweeter.
“We’ve got a lot of support from back home and to get a victory likes this makes it a lot better.”
‘We performed really well’
Summing up the team’s performance, De Villiers said: “We performed really well in all areas. We got more than 200 against a quality bowling attack on a tough wicket. Not a lot of teams would have achieved that, I believe, even though I believe we could have got to 250 at the end. It was still a good score on a tough wicket.
“Then, the bowlers, bowling together as a unit today, and the three spinners bowling really well, was very pleasing.”
De Villiers also paid tribute to fast bowler Chris Morris, who flew out to join the team after Morne Morkel injured himself in their first march against India. Sharing the new ball with Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Morris showed no nerves in his first one-day international as he sent Imran Farhat and Mohammed Hafeez packing with only 18 runs on the board. He went on to finish with figures of 2 for 25 in seven overs.
Amla, opening with Colin Ingram for the first time, gave South Africa a solid if somewhat slow foundation of 53 for the opening wicket before Ingram was out in the 15th over for 20.
AB de Villiers and JP Duminy threatened later in the innings, but they were both run out, as were Chris Morris and Aaron Phangiso in the chase for runs in the dying overs of the innings.
After Amla, De Villiers’ 31 was the next highest score, followed by 28 from Faf du Plessis. “The wicket was a bit difficult up front,” Amla said when he received the man of the match award.
“Obviously they bowled quite well and as the ball got older the wicket turned more and made it even tougher to score,” Amla said. “Fortunately, we got a few mini-partnerships going and that managed to propel us to 230-odd.”
Chasing 235 for victory, Pakistan never really got out of the blocks after Morris sent Farhat’s stumps flying in the second over.
Misbah ul-Haq, as he had against the West Indies, played a captain’s knock and finished the top scorer with 55 off 75 balls, while Nasir Jamshed weighed with 42, but it took him 76 deliveries to put together.
Opening the bowling with Morris, Lonwabo Tsotsobe showed a welcome return to form as he picked up 2 for 23 in nine overs, while between them, Aaron Phangiso, JP Duminy and Robin Peterson sent down 21 overs of spin bowling and claimed 2 for 93 at 4.4 runs per over.
Last group game
South Africa next face the West Indies in their final group match at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff on Friday, and there was good news for the team ahead of the match.
To cheers from Proteas supporters, skipper De Villiers revealed: “Dale [Steyn] will most probably be ready for the next game. We missed him the last two, but it’s great to see other guys step up and once we get that injection from Dale we’ll be an even better team and that’s exciting.”
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