Pakistan need to win all three remaining games to qualify for semi-final (Image Credit: Getty)
Haris Sohail’s 89 runs off 59 balls along with Wahab Riaz’s 3/46 helped Pakistan to knock South Africa out of the showpiece tournament. Batting first, Pakistan batsmen showed their class with bat and went onto to score 308 runs on the board, which, on the given day, turned out to be too much for South Africa as they eventually fell short by 49 runs at the Lord’s in London.
At the deceptively green-looking Lord’s pitch, Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed elected to bat, and his top-order emboldened that decision as Imam Ul Haq and Fakhar Zaman started fluently and hammered the opposition bowlers all-around the ground. The applause from Lord’s balcony led them to score freely and with authority.
Tahir was understandably livid, but Zaman went out of his way to offer redemption to the South African leggie, with his clumsy attempt to play a scoop. Zaman ended up in an awkward position, and the edge went straight to Hashim Amla at first slip, giving South Africa their first breakthrough. However, till then, the duo strung a partnership of 81 runs, which had set the tone for coming batsmen.
Babar Azam replaced Fakhar Zaman to the crease and tried to stitch a partnership with Imam Ul Haq. However, just when Pakistan batsmen were starting to look good, an exceptional reflexes catch from Imran Tahir sent Imam Ul Haq back to the pavilion and have South Africa to claw their way back into the game.
And till the 30th over of the first innings, the game was evenly poised with South African bowlers not letting the opposition score some easy runs. But Mohammad Hafeez’s wicket in Aiden Markram overturned to bless in disguise for Pakistan as young Haris Sohail turned the course of the game.
Haris took the opportunity with both hands and ensured there will be no more shuffling around from the team management for the crucial No.5 position. Sohail's adventurism worked for Babar, who calmly went past the second 50-run mark in the tournament. Sohail, on the other hand, showed versatility and went after the bowlers.
The pair's partnership of 81 runs to set up the game beautifully as Pakistan ended up scoring 307 runs on the board with Sohail staying till the very end.
The Proteas made a poor start to their run-chase as Mohammad Amir trapped experienced Hashim Amla right in front. Thereafter, Quinton de Kock and Faf du Plessis put on 87 runs, but they couldn’t quite keep up with the scoring rate. De Kock got 47 and perished to a mistimed shot off Shadab Khan. Aiden Markram didn’t look comfortable during his 16-delivery stint in the middle and he became Shadab’s second victim.
Du Plessis tried to take on Amir and got out after a hard-fought 63 off 79 with five boundaries. With the required rate over 10, Rassie van der Dussen and David Miller tried hard, but couldn’t get going. The Pakistan bowling turned out to be too hot to handle as the Proteas capsized alarmingly. Andile Phehlukwayo threw his bat around for 46 runs and remained unbeaten, but his efforts were never going to be enough for South Africa.