SA batsmen lose it again
Proteas’ top-order fail to overcome the pace and spin of Pakistan’s bowlers
SOUTH Africa fell on their own sword last night when they crashed to 143 all out in 40.4 overs – to lose by 66 runs chasing Pakistan’s modest 209 in the second One Day International at the Dubai International Stadium.
And what a way for Pakistan to hit back, especially after losing a game they should have won. On Wednesday night, in Sharjah, requiring needed 19 runs with six wickets in hand, they lost by one run.
But last night Pakistan put that nightmare behind them, and though their batsmen failed for a second match in three days, it was their spinners who squeezed the South Africans out of the game on a perfect night and on a perfect wicket.
Determined to level the series, Pakistan came out after a poor batting display with all bowlers blazing. Their spinners dazzled the South Africans, and with tall Mohammad Irfan in a fiery mood, they blew away the visitors’ resistance.
The Pakistani bowling attack was led by Shahid Afridi, who broke through in successive overs to finish with 3/26; Irfan, who used his height to extract bounce from the track and proved difficult to get away, bagged 3/53, and Saeed Ajmal again mesmerised the Proteas, taking 2/6 in eight overs.
To be honest, it was an abysmal display by the South African top-order batting that once again let the side – the topsix batsmen could only offer a collective 76 runs after a splendid bowling performance.
JP Duminy’s 25 off 45 balls stood out, but the South Africans can thank Ryan McLaren, who scored 29 off 43 balls at the death, for saving them more embarrassment and a heavier defeat.
Openers Colin Ingram (4) and Graeme Smith (14) failed to lay the foundation – the first wicket falling at four – and from then on it was a struggle as the top five were cleaned out for 73 on the board as the pressure continued to build while the Pakistan spinners, ruthless in their approach, tightened the noose.
Earlier the South Africans bowlers again kept the Pakistani batting in check – as they did in Sharjah on Wednesday – and kept the pressure on even when it seemed as if Ahmed Shehzad and Mohammad Hafeez were going to run away with it.
McLaren was the stand-out last night… he did what was asked of him by his captain AB de Villiers and served up figures of 10-0-34-4.
And he had some good support from Morne Morkel (3/38), who could have had tidier figures had Wahab Riaz, who struck him for two sixes, not targeted him towards the end of his spell.
There was another good performance from leg- spinner, Imran Tahir, and he showed once again why he is proving to be difficult to get away in these conditions. Tahir picked up 3/45 in the first ODI, and followed it last night with 1/28 off 10 tidy overs.
De Villiers, using his bowlers in a sensible manner, swopped them around to unsettle the Pakistan second wicket partnership after Nasir Jamshed (1) was sent back in the third over.
As in the opening One Day International, Jamshed, a talented opener, was unable to handle Morkel’s bounce and pace. He tried the hook shot only to see the ball flying to deep fine-leg where Lonwabo Tsotsobe took a brilliant low catch while running in.
Jamshed and Hafeez ( 26) added 48 for the second wicket in 55 balls before McLaren struck a huge blow. It was his first of four wickets and he bowled just the line and length that troubled the Pakistanis.
Jamshed was the hero for Pakistan with his second halfcentury of the series – he scored 58 – and it was his third half-century in a row in the ODI arena.
With his captain, Misbah-ulHaq (25), Shehzad added 60 off 92 balls and that proved an invaluable partnership for Pakistan as, after that, there were no really stands of note besides the one between Umer Amin (14) and Umar Akmal (18), followed by the 28 for the eighth wicket by Shahid Afridi (26) and Riaz (18).
McLaren’s wickets included the scalps of Hafeez, Misbahul-Haq, Amin and Ajmal (0).
Morkel, who now has five wickets in the series after his 2/23 in the first game snapped up Jamshed, Akmal and Afridi, who played a much more responsible role while scoring 26 with four boundaries.
GREEN FOR GO: Pakistani bowler Saeed Ajmal celebrates with teammates after he clean-bowled South Africa’s Graeme Smith during the second day-night international against South Africa in the Dubai International Stadium last night. Pakistan won by 66 runs, tying the five ODI series 1-1.