Pakistan Beat 185 for 9 (Shadab 52, Iftikhar 51, Nortje 4-41). South Africa 108 for 9 in 14 overs (Bavuma 36, Afridi 3-14, Shadab 2-16) through 33 runs (DLS method)
Pakistan kept their semi-final hopes alive with a victory in a rainy, must-win game over favorite opponents South Africa. They have met four times in T20 World Cups and Pakistan has won all four encounters. With this latest result, there are now no undefeated teams at this World Cup.
On a chilly evening in Sydney, against the quick pace of Anrich Nortje and the cunning of Lungi Ngidi’s slower ball, Pakistan rebounded from 95 to 5 to record their fifth-highest score against South Africa and highest at World Cups. With their top order again not firing, Iftikhar Ahmed and then Shadab Khan scored half a century to lead Pakistan to a competitive outcome. They were helped by a sloppy South African field performance. They dropped five catches – more than the tournament’s other three games combined – and there were several fumbles on a slippery outfield. Pakistan set up with the bat but won the match with the ball. Shaheen Shah Afridi sacked Quinton de Kock and Rilee Rossouw cheaply but Temba Bavuma played his best innings of 2022 and the chase went well until the start of the eighth over. South Africa was 65-2, ahead of the DLS par of 58 at the time Shadab found Bavuma’s lead. On the fall of the wicket, the DLS par increased to 66 and two balls later to 77 when Aiden Markam was dismissed. When play was stopped after nine overs, South Africa needed 85 to win but were 69 to 4. A one hour stoppage cut six overs from the chase and when play resumed South Africa needed 75 runs from the remaining five overs . Tristan Stubbs and Heinrich Klaasen, who came on to replace David Miller, who was out with back spasms, wavered a bit but the question was always too big. South Africa remain second in the Group 2 points table behind India and need to beat the Netherlands on Sunday to take their fate into their own hands.Haris’ hit
Mohammad Haris was parachuted into the Pakistani squad after Fakhar Zaman suffered a repeat of the knee injury he had been struggling with that year at the end of the tournament and he made an immediate impression. He was hit at the lattice on the second ball he faced – a short ball from Wayne Parnell – and that seemed to spur him into action. He tucked into Kagiso Rabada’s opening over, sending a half-volley down the deep back square for six, then a pull down the fine leg for another six, before seeing another short ball through the square leg to give South Africa its most expensive over of the tournament to cost far: 17 runs.
Haris showed a clear strength of playing the ball on the side of his leg, complete with a shuffle over the stumps, and it was his undoing as well. He missed a delivery from Anrich Nortje, was hit with a stump and went lbw. His 28 from 11 balls gave Pakistan’s power play some lift and they finished the tournament with the highest power play score of 42 despite losing their top 3.
Anrich Nortje took four wickets but took a pounding in the end • Getty Images
Nawaz: out or not out?
Iftikhar Ahmed and Mohammad Nawaz helped Pakistan rebound from 43 to 4 with a 52 run five wicket streak. They had some nervous moments up front when Iftikhar fired the ball skyward to the right of Quinton de Kock. De Kock made a brave one-handed attempt and couldn’t hold on. Two balls later, Nawaz got a thick edge past de Kock, but the two didn’t look back from there.
Iftikhar took advantage of failed lines and lengths from Rabada and Nawaz caught Ngidi and then Shamsi. He hit Shamsi over deep midwicket and then formed for the sweep but missed and was hit on the front pad. Nawaz launched into a run as he was issued and then Lungi Ngidi’s direct hit found the stumps. Nawaz must have thought he went out and didn’t check. Replays showed that he had a thick bottom edge and also that he made a mistake. The ball would have been dead when the referee raised his finger – before Ngidi’s throw – under Rule 126.96.36.199. Nawaz would not have been outside.
But maybe not so bad
Nawaz’s sacking brought Shadab Khan to his knees and Pakistan could not have asked for more. Shadab took a liking to Shamsi and scored 13 runs from his final over, costing 15 in total, before launching a Ngidi full-toss to deep back square for four, driving Nortje through mid-off for four more and hitting him for six uppercuts. Nortje opted to throw full in the end and mis-hit an attempted Yorker. Shadab sent the full-toss into the stands and then another over-long-on to deliver fifty balls from 20 – Pakistan’s second-fastest fifty in T20I cricket. He put Pakistan within range of 200 but then went big one too many times, being dropped by Aiden Markram in the long-on and then being caught by Tristan Stubbs in deep Midwicket.
Overall, Pakistan has scored 90 runs in the last seven overs.
Shaheen Shah Afridi brought South Africa back with early wickets from Quinton de Kock and Rilee Rossouw•Getty Images
Pakistan’s hectic end
Shadab’s dismissal ushered in an intense end of the innings in which Pakistan lost four wickets for eight runs as Pakistan attempted to break the limit with every ball. Mohammad Wasim towered over Nortje and Bavuma came out of the ring to make a running catch. In the final over, Iftikhar opted to take on Rabada and beat him to a long-on where Rilee Rossouw pulled off an excellent catch. And Haris Rauf was knocked out with the last ball while Pakistan struggled to run a fourth. Bavuma was the man who broke the stumps.
Afridi’s amazing start
Pakistan’s ace got off to a quiet start to the tournament, with just one wicket in his first three games, and explained he was working his way up to full strength after returning from injury. He got there in that match when he started a series of long deliveries to de Kock, who was eyeing the midwicket area but failed to find him. De Kock got there with the last ball of the over, but his try on Haris on the edge of the ring ended with the point. De Kock was fired because of a duck. In his next over, Afridi pulled in South Africa’s big fish Rossouw with a ball that didn’t deserve a wicket. It was short, wide and screamed “hit me”, and Rossouw obliged. He sliced into the deep third where Naseem Shah ran around to get the catch. South Africa were 16 for 2.
Shadab’s double strike
Bavuma played his most enjoyable and profitable innings of 2022, hitting 36 balls from 18 balls (including a ball for six he attempted and failed earlier in the tournament) and the hoodoo seemed broken. But Shadab continued to possess the night when he was brought over on the eighth. Delivering a stock-standard leg break, Bavuma opened up the racquet’s face to try for third place and nodded. This strike was crucial as, with the threat of rain, it caused South Africa to fall behind at DLS. After 7.1 overs, on two downs, the DLS par was 59. On three downs, it went up to 66. South Africa was 65 at that point. And it got worse for them. Two balls later Shadab Markram bowled with a top spinner as the batsman went back to try and cut and South Africa was 66 to 4. The teams were pulled off nine balls later and it was clear Shadab had a crucial hand in hand had this game.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent