Pakistan vs South Africa, ICC World Twenty20 – 2012

Sep 30, 2012 by     No Comments    Posted under: Sports Buzz

‘The Unpredictables’ win the first match of Super Eight – Group B.

Match Summary:

South Africa: 133 for 6 (Duminy 48, Hafeez 2-23)

Pakistan: 136 for 8 (Umar Akmal 43*, Gul 32)

Result: Pakistan win by 2 wickets with 2 balls remaining.

You may have heard the phrase ‘miracles happen’. I am sure 28/9/12 is the date on which we actually saw a miracle happen before our eyes. The day the strength of our prayers and the aggressiveness of Team Pakistan led us to a historic victory against South Africa. Two names, who made it all happen, shall never be forgotten. Umar Gul who ‘Gul-dozed’ the South Africans, and Umar Akmal who batted intelligently and eventually guided Pakistan’s victory over South Africa. When the top and middle order of the team became clueless, these two batsmen took the team out from the trauma.

It was a heavy day of cricket as pressure surrounded Team Pakistan from all sides. It was, indeed, a miracle when Pakistan won by two wickets against South Africa in the first match of Super Eight for Group B. Let us give this sensational match a quick review.

The pitch was dry. Pakistan, up until now, was facing moist pitches that were good for batting. However, this pitch, at the Premadasa Stadium Colombo, was different. It was dry, had no grass, and was certainly devoid of moisture. It was a dream pitch for spinners, hence, the right decision was made by the team management of Pakistan to drop a seamer, Sohail Tanvir, and include a spinner for the match. The right spinning choice was Raza Hasan. Raza Hasan, a young talent, bowled brilliantly in the series against Australia, and was bowling for the first time against the South Africans.

After winning the toss and choosing to bat first, the South Africans planned to score big, but the spin attack of Pakistan was outstanding. Raza Hasan bowled a tremendous spell of 3 overs, including a maiden over, and gave away only 12 runs. The next in the lineup was none other than our very own Professor, Mohammad Hafeez, who was terrific with the ball. He bowled 4 overs while maintaining an economy of 5.75 and taking the important wickets of Jacques Kallis and Farhaan Behardien. Along with Hasan and Hafeez, Saeed Ajmal and Yasir Arafat bowled extremely well. Saeed Ajmal was once again successful in deceiving the batsmen by his doosras and was also successful in maintaining an economy rate of 6.50.

Alongside this bowling attack, some lovely piece of fielding was seen, and not to forget, the intelligent captaincy of Mohammad Hafeez. As a result, we were able to restrict South Africa to 133 runs. Jean-Paul Duminy and the Captain AB de Villiers were the only resistance Pakistan had to face from South Africa. The former made a handful 48 runs, while the latter contributed 25 runs to the scoreboard.

[Pakistan’s spinners made it difficult for South African team, who couldn’t get the run-rate consistently above 5 till the 13th over.]

Shahid Afridi (L) and Mohammad Hafeez (R) ICC Twenty20 2012

[JP Duminy battled well to make 48 runs and lifted South Africa to 133 runs despite some stifling spin bowling from Pakistan.]

JP Duminy ICC Twenty20 2012

The match progressed favoring Pakistan throughout the first innings. Pakistan had a fairly decent batting line-up consisting of Imran Nazir, Nasir Jamshed, Kamran Akmal, Shahid Afridi, and Mohammad Hafeez amongst others. It was a piece of cake for them to chase the target of 134 runs. However, in the second innings, things did not remain as easy as they seemed. The team batting second had to face more turn in the pitch, and that is exactly what happened to Pakistan.

The batting line-up of Pakistan, from the top order to the middle order, was a total disaster and couldn’t survive on the crease. Initially, Pakistan took off nicely with Imran Nazir and Mohammad Hafeez on strike, each scoring boundaries, but then, there was a twist in the tale as Nazir was caught behind by the wicket-keeper, AB de Villiers. Shortly afterwards, Hafeez was also stumped by AB de Villiers. The turning point of the match was when Nasir Jamshed had to go back to the pavilion for 0, immediately after Hafeez departed from the crease. Subsequently, the middle order collapsed because the batsmen were under high voltage pressure. Thus, Kamran Akmal, Shahid Afridi, and Shoaib Malik quickly followed Nasir Jamshed back to the pavilion.

The match was out of the hands of the Men in Green. But what we forgot was that we still had Umar Akmal in the middle order and Umar Gul in the tail end. Both the Umars joined hands in creating history and created a do-or-die situation for Pakistan, eventually steering Pakistan towards victory. Hats off to the South Africans who fought back well with their tremendous bowling, but a standing ovation to Umar Gul and Umar Akmal for helping Team Pakistan clear the first hurdle in the Super Eight round. Umar Gul played a magical innings of 32 runs from only 16 balls, including 3 huge out-of-the-park sixes that considerably reduced the required run-rate. Along with him, Umar Akmal played a magnificent innings of 43 runs, remaining not-out in the end. The winning runs were scored through a boundary by Saeed Ajmal in the third last ball of the match.

 [Pakistan began their chase strongly before Robin Peterson struck twice in the 4th over and took two quick wickets.]

Robin Peterson ICC Twenty20 2012

Umar Gul, for his outstanding batting, was crowned the Man of the Match. The victory was a unified effort of the team, the management, and of course, the Pakistani cricket fans who kept praying for the Men in Green and did not lose hope in them till the end of the match. The 22 yards of the Premadasa Stadium Sri Lanka shall never be forgotten.

[When all seemed lost for Pakistan, Umar Gul brought Team Pakistan back into the match after scoring 3 sixes.]

Umar Gul ICC Twenty20 2012

Images Source: ESPN cricinfo. All photography rights are reserved to original photographers. Photographs are only used for the purpose of illustration and do not in any way belong to Youth Correspondent or its derivatives.

The Author

A crazy cricket fan in all the three formats. A patriotic Team Green Supporter and a fully biased Afridi and Hafeez fan.

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