ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 29th Match: Misbah helps Pakistan stun South Africa

Ul-Haq's magnificent form with the bat continued

Ul-Haq’s magnificent form with the bat continued

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq scored 56 to lead his side to a shocking 29-run win over South Africa via the Duckworth-Lewis method in a rain-affected showdown in Auckland.

Ul-Haq was well supported by the pace trio of Mohammad Irfan, Rahat Ali and Wahab Riaz as they all took three wickets.

However, South Africa skipper AB de Villiers deserves some credit for his spirited knock of 77.

De Villiers would have been delighted with his decision to bowl first since ul-Haq and Sarfraz Ahmed were the only two batsmen to make any major contributions towards Pakistan’s final score of 222.

Ul-Haq made 56 off 86 balls, which included four boundaries, while Ahmed scored 49 off 49 deliveries, which included five boundaries and three sixes.

Ahmed hit five boundaries and three sixes during his knock of 49

Ahmed hit five boundaries and three sixes during his knock of 49

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Dale Steyn was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets, while Kyle Abbott and Morne Morkel snapped up two wickets apiece and de Villiers and Imran Tahir chipped in with one wicket each.

Since the match was reduced to 47 overs per side and the Duckworth-Lewis method had come into effect, South Africa required 232 to win.

However, in rather bizarre fashion, many of the batsmen, with the exception of de Villiers, were dismissed after making promising starts.

Since none of the batsmen were able to stick around with de Villiers, the Proteas captain started to feel the heat and eventually succumbed to the pressure for 77, which came off 58 balls and included seven boundaries and five sixes.

De Villiers made a gutsy 77

De Villiers made a gutsy 77

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Once de Villiers had gone, South Africa’s chances of winning the match flew out the window.

In fact, it was only a short while later that Pakistan were celebrating a brilliant come-from-behind win, while South Africa looked on in utter despair.

Irfan, Ali and Riaz took three wickets each, while Sohail Khan claimed one.

De Villiers was disgusted with his side’s performance, and said: “We are still in a good position in the group, but I never like to lose. We were shocking with the bat. We have been under pressure many times in the last few years and come out on top. I still believe we have the right group here to lift the trophy. It wasn’t easy (batting under lights). Still, a good enough wicket to chase that down, no reason we shouldn’t have chased it down.”

Ul-Haq was ecstatic to have won, and said: “This is a big win for us. Sarfraz played well [others also played well]. We were 30-40 runs short, but the bowlers did their job. The bowlers went for the kill, the only chance was to get wickets and get the opposition all out. Beating South Africa, who are playing really good cricket, after that everybody believes now, the players, the team, we can take a lot of confidence from it. When runs are on board, it is always pressure on the opposition.”

Ahmed was named Man of the Match for scoring 49 and taking six catches.

“I am very thankful to the world and Pakistan for this opportunity,” he said. “I want to thank all those who supported me, including my family. This is my World Cup debut match, but Mushie bhai (Mushtaq Ahmed) had good words for me to encourage me and told me to go out and enjoy myself.”

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