South Africa 315 for 4 (Ingram 105*, de Villiers 65) beat Pakistan 190 (Misbah 38, Kleinveldt 4-22) by 125 runs
South Africa began their journey to the Champions Trophy with a leap – not just a step – as they overcame Pakistan with a polished all-round effort that was set up by their batsmen and finished off in the field. Importantly for them, the contributions came from quarters that have been areas of concern in the past.
The middle order, and Colin Ingram in particular, played a meaningful part and a bowling attack without Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel functioned effectively. South Africa’s batsmen dealt with Pakistan’s quartet of spinners with ease while their seamers, led by Ryan McLaren and Rory Kleinveldt, shut the opposition out of the match.
By contrast, Pakistan suffered because they fielded only two seamers and did not use Saeed Ajmal well enough, taking him off after he had made a breakthrough. The fifth and sixth bowlers, Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Malik, conceded 81 runs in 11 overs runs on a surface that did not aid turn, and against batsmen who were intent on proving their captain’s belief that they were capable of smothering the spin threat.
The Pakistan quicks had started well as both Junaid Khan and Umar Gul found early seam movement. Gul repeatedly beat Graeme Smith’s bat with deliveries that moved away. Even Hashim Amla, who opened the boundary count with a gorgeous coax through the covers, did not find the going easy. He inside-edged Junaid for four early on and went on to do it twice more in a somewhat charmed stint, which also included him being dropped on 15.
The openers chose to take the Powerplay as soon as it become available. Pakistan used it to introduce spin, which they continued with for 21 overs, but it only restricted South Africa for a while. They scored 29 runs in the Powerplay for the loss of Smith. AB de Villiers promoted himself to No. 3 and was joined by Colin Ingram after Amla had one too many dalliances with chance and was caught on the deep square-leg boundary.
De Villiers and Ingram shared in the most important stand of the innings, with Ingram’s knock of greater importance as he tries to cement a spot in the starting XI. Ingram swept well and for the most part they accumulated runs quietly but quickly.
De Villiers hit his first boundary after he had scored 37 runs but his search for singles was ceaseless. When he did find the rope, he did it a second time for good measure. He made room against Ajmal and lofted over extra cover for four to bring up his half-century and then pulled the next ball to bring up the century stand off 103 balls. It had swelled to 120 when Ajmal had the last laugh as de Villiers lobbed to short cover.
Ingram took over and played his part in ending Afridi’s participation with the ball. His eighth and last over cost 21 runs; Ingram hit two out of five boundaries. Faf du Plessis was responsible for the other three. He put on 62 with Ingram before scooping to short fine leg.
Although Farhaan Berhardien is not known as a hitter, he was sent in with four overs to go and hit the two sixes of the innings off consecutive balls. He sent Junaid Khan over long-on and midwicket and ensured Ingram, on 96, had strike in the last over.
He needed only one delivery to stroke the ball through the covers and bring up a second century in Bloemfontein and a second against Pakistan. He also took South Africa to their third highest total at the ground, giving Pakistan a tough chase.
Pakistan’s openers were challenged by Lonwabo Tsotsobe, who found swing and induced an edge from Mohammed Hafeez that fell short of slip. He could have had Hafeez a second time when he got a leading edge to du Plessis, which popped out of his hands at gully.
Kyle Abbott offered some relief by inviting the drive. Jamshed, however, was just getting into a higher gear when he chased a wide ball off Kleinveldt’s second over and was caught at first slip. Kleinveldt also got the timely breakthrough when he ran Hafeez out at the non-strikers’ end. Younis Khan had driven back at the bowler, who deflected the ball with the slightest touch of his ring finger.
Pakistan needed a big stand but AB de Villiers did not let Younis and Misbah-ul-Haq settle with clever rotations of his bowlers. They posted 49 before Younis became Abbott’s first ODI wicket.
McLaren ensured Pakistan could not claw their way back. He displayed excellent use of variation and the short ball had Misbah caught behind as he tried to pull one. At 135 for 5 in the 29th over, it was only a matter of time but Afridi lengthened it with some blows at the end. Three huge hits took his sixes tally to 301. He muscled his way to 34 before holing out to deep midwicket to give Kleinveldt career-best figures and South Africa a comprehensive win.
Sources by: ESPN Cricinfo