SA bats­men lose it again

Proteas’ top-or­der fail to over­come the pace and spin of Pak­istan’s bowlers

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT - IQBAL KHAN

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.

GALLO IM­AGES

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.

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