Hashim Amla’s batting and Ryan McLaren’s bowling led pre-tournament favourites South Africa to their first win of the 2013 Champions Trophy in front of a full house at Edgbaston on Monday.
Having won the toss, South African captain AB de Villiers chose to bat on what looked like a decent batting surface.
The Proteas’ 234-9 looked slightly under par after a promising start with Hashin Amla and Faf du Plessis guiding them to 120-1. However, their innings was characterised by the consistent fall of wickets, as it had been in their opening game against India last week.
Many got starts, particularly in the middle order where du Plessis, de ViIlliers, JP Duminy and David Miller all got going, but none managed to progress further than 31.
South Africa’s innings was most notable for its four run outs, with both de Villiers and Duminy run out by Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq after slipping. At the end of the innings debutant Chris Morris and Aaron Phangiso were the victims of direct hits, the latter without facing a delivery.
Amla’s innings was much like Ian Bell’s 91 for England against Australia on Saturday, not only anchoring the innings but also typically attractive. Dropped on seven by Umar Amin, Amla taught Pakistan a lesson he has taught many attacks over the last year, making the telling contribution by reaching 81.
Unfortunately South African did not manage to build upon the foundations laid by Amla as wickets fell consistently and they managed only a paltry 112 runs in the final 22 overs.
Misbah’s team once again bowled and fielded excellently to severely limit South Africa’s scoring options. Just three days earlier, the Pakistan bowling unit had come very close to defending a meagre 170 against the West Indies and they once again advanced their burgeoning reputation at Edgbaston.
With large amounts of Pakistani support in the stands, a target of 235 looked very gettable but Pakistan’s chase never really got going.
South Africa’s bowling attack, as against India, were shorn of their leader, Dale Steyn, and this time round they were missing his partner-in-crime Morne Morkel too.
The bowling performance, so profligate against India, was outstanding this time round, with Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Ryan McLaren filling the space left by Morkel and Steyn, going for just 6-42 from their combined 17 overs.
Once again, it was only Nasir Jamshed and Misbah-ul-Haq who put up any resistance to South Africa’s excellent bowling display. After a slow start, the pair came together with Pakistan stuttering at 48-3 and attempted to force the pace a little before Tsotsobe had Jamshed caught and bowled.
Once again the scoring slowed before the powerplay and as Pakistan tried to push on, McLaren snared Umar Amin and Kamran Akmal in one over. Having attempted to force the pace, Tsotsobe had Misbah caught at midwicket by Amla, effectively ending the match as a contest with Pakistan 148-7.
McLaren cleared up the tail for 167, ending with figures of 4-19, subjecting Pakistan to their second total below 175 of the tournament. This leaves Misbah’s team on the brink of elimination, requiring the West Indies to beat India on Tuesday to give them any hope.
This was a match that followed a very similar pattern to England’s encounter with Australia at the same ground on Saturday and once Pakistan’s innings began they never truly looked in the game. They are left requiring a very particular set of results in order to advance. In contrast, South Africa can look forward to their final game with the Windies with renewed confidence after their early setback against India.
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