Last Update on: January 20th, 2019 at 12:40 am
Pakistan Cricket team held nerves as they chased down 266 runs set by South Africa on a double-paced wicket to take a 1-0 lead in the five-match ODI series at Port Elizabeth.
After electing to bat on a slow track, South Africa made a rather cautious start. It was Reeza Hendricks, who tried to up the ante with flicks and the occasional drive. In the 10th over, Hashim Amla joined in the act by expertly bisecting the gaps to punch and steer it to the boundary boards. In search of wickets, Pakistan even took a desperate review for an LBW against Amla in the 18th over only for replays to suggest the ball would have pitched outside the line of leg stump. However, in the same over, Shadab Khan prised out Hendricks by tempting him to play the slog sweep only for the opener to eke out a top edge to the square leg fielder.
Amla becomes the fastest to score 27 hundred
At that juncture, van der Dussen, on his ODI debut, joined forces with Amla to string together a substantial partnership. Meanwhile, the pair had to deal in a diet of singles and twos. It was only in the slog overs that van der Dussen decided to press the accelerator pedal by taking Usman Khan for a four and a six. Unfortunately, he couldn’t reach the coveted three-figure mark on his ODI debut as Hasan Ali dismissed him in the 47th over.
Amla, however, was able to reach the milestone in the 48th over with a six off Mohammad Hafeez. In the last over, Faheem Ashraf generated appreciable swing with the old ball to ensure South Africa could eke out just seven runs as South Africa posted 266 runs on the board.
Although the track was on the slower side with the odd ball gripping for spinners, Pakistan paced the chase brilliantly. They made a quick start. Kagiso Rabada and Duanne Olivier tried to test Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman with pace and were duly dispatched to the boundary boards. Despite that, the pace duo attempted to test the openers with short pitch deliveries. However, Zaman had to pay the price for being too aggressive.
Azam and Imam shares a handy partnership
Meanwhile, After Fakhar’s departure, Imam and Babar Azam added 94 runs, and that provided an excellent platform for the visitors. Eventually, it was Hendricks who broke through by removing Azam. The part-timer bowled it quite slow through the air and cleaned up Azam. Mohammad Hafeez, who joined Imam in the middle, played a couple of sublime drives while Imam showed positive intent by charging down the track to loft Dwaine Pretorius for a six. But soon after, Imam departed scoring 86 runs giving Olivier his second victim.
Despite losing Imam at other end, Hafeez continued to play with bravado. He smacked Olivier for a six and then skipped down the track to thump Tahir for another one into the stands. He shared smalls partnerships to chase down the target with five balls to spare as Pakistan takes a 1-0 lead.