Head in Hand. Shoulder Drooping. A Hint of Tears. It was another day of agonizing pain for Pakistani cricket as they lost to South Africa by the barest of margins. In a game of constant power shifting, the South Africans eventually came out on top to snatch a crucial victory and almost secure their passage to the semi-finals. Pakistan’s fighting spirit came out too late, as they are stuck with only four points from six games.
South Africa made three changes to their team that demolished Bangladesh in the last game. Temba Bavuma finally recovered from illness; he took the place of Reeza Hendricks in the team. Lungi Ngidi was back from the slight niggle, and Lizaad Williams made room for the pace bowler. The turning wicket of Chepauk made South Africa opt for an extra spinner. Left arm chinaman Tabraiz Shamsi entered as Kagiso Rabada missed out.
Pakistan made two changes to their team that suffered a shock loss against Afghanistan. Usama Mir was out to make room for Mohammad Nawaz. Mohammad Washim Jr. came in for Hasan Ali.
- Abdullah Shafique 2. Imam-Ul-Haq 3. Babar Azam (Cap.) 4. Mohammad Rizwan (WK) 5. Saud Shakeel 6. Iftikhar Ahmed 7. Shadab Khan 8. Mohammad Nawaz 9. Shaheen Afridi 10. Mohammad Washim Jr. 11. Haris Rauf
- Temba Bavuma (Cap.) 2. Quinton de Kock (WK) 3. Rassie van der Dussen 4. Aiden Markram 5. Heinrich Klaasen 6. David Miller 7. Marco Jansen 8. Gerald Coetzee 9. Keshav Maharaj 10. Tabraiz Shamsi 11. Lungi Ngidi
This was the lowest scoring of the tournament so far. The average first innings score is 245. The Chepauk wicket always provides something for spinners. The smooth, hard, and slightly grassy wicket would help the spinners turn the ball, but not dramatically. It is ideal to score a 270+ score on the board to apply pressure on the team batting second.
|Venue||The 26th game of the 2023 World Cup was played at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, Tamil Nadu|
|Date||The game started from 02:00 pm IST on Friday, October 27|
Captaincy & Tactics
South Africa started off their bowling with a simple plan: to bowl the bouncers at the Pakistani batters. Marco Jansen was bowling at pace with aggression, pitching it short to trouble the batters. The plan worked perfectly as Shafique, Rizwan, and Babar – all succumbed to short-pitch deliveries. Temba Bavuma deserves some appreciation for his wise choice of using Gerald Coetzee as an enforcer.
The 23-year-old bowled constantly at 140k/h and peppered the batsmen with bouncers. The Pakistani batters had a hard time against the wrist spin of Noor Ahmed in the previous game and struggled against Shamsi on this occasion. The chinaman bowler swung the ball both ways to put a different type of challenge from the quick bowlers.
Shaheen Shah Afridi was accurate early on with his good length deliveries. Usama Mir was brave enough to toss the ball up against the aggressive South African batters. He reaped his award by securing two wickets. Babar can be criticized for his defensive approach, even when the team was on the ascendency. Mohammad Wasim Jr was a breath of freshness in the line-up; he bowled on a tight line and got two wickets.
Despite the failure of the openers, Pakistan got off to a decent start thanks to the recognizable pair of Babar and Rizwan. But Rizwan got out cheaply by chasing a short one. Babar looked determined and posted an immaculate fifty. Babar has scored 952 runs this year, at an average of 45.33 – which looks rather mediocre considering the man’s immense talent. He also fell to a short delivery, deviating slightly down the leg side.
Saud Shakeel made the most of his opportunity at the World Cup. The 28-year-old left-hander has scored 212 runs so far, with an impressive strike rate of over 101. He looked in fine touch, and his 88% control over the innings made Pakistan cruise in the middle overs. He used the flick shots to perfection, adding 11 runs to his total with this particular stroke.
Shadab Khan’s inclusion in the playing eleven has been under constant scrutiny as the Pakistani all-rounder struggled for form with both bat and ball. He averages just 23.18 in ODIs this year. But he doubled this figure with an impactful innings of 43 from 36 balls. Shadab hit 3 fours and 2 sixes in his innings, making the most of the slog overs.
Aiden Markram surpassed Virat Kohli to reach the 2nd spot on the list of highest run-getters at the World Cup. Markram has scored 356 runs so far at an average of 59.33, striking the ball at a rate of 115.96. Markram used the pull shot well during his innings of 91, scoring 23 runs with 3 fours and a massive six over midwicket. His innings were the ultimate deciding factor in a game of low personal scores.
Marco Jansen showed once again why he is considered to be an heir to Jacque Kallis. David Miller chipped in with an innings of 29 runs. It was not easy for the batters to play against spin on a turning track. Players who preferred to play on the backfoot suffered bad consequences.
The South African bowlers used their height along with pace to generate bounce out of a flat wicket. All 6 feet 8 inches frame of Marco Jansen was put to good use by bowling the deadly bouncers at the helmet. They bowled 31% of their deliveries on the shortish zone during the powerplay phase. The Pakistani batsmen looked uncomfortable playing those deliveries. Those who tried to play on top of the bounce paid the price with their wickets.
Tabraiz Shamsi is having a productive year with the ball. He has picked up 19 wickets this year at an average of 22.57. The deliveries were not being picked up by the Pakistani batters, who hardly had any answers to his wrong ‘uns. Shamsi bowled nine googlies in his spell, spinning menace for the opposition batters.
Gerald Coetzee has been bowling well recently, and this match was no exception. He bowled with pace and attacked the stumps regularly. He finished with figures of 2 for 42. Keshav Maharaj was expensive in his 9-over spell, giving away 56 runs at 6.22 runs per over.
Shaheen Afridi decided to ball short against the high-flying Quinton de Kock. He eventually succeeded as de Kock was holed out at square leg, albeit on a normal short delivery. Mohammad Wasim Jr. hit the ground running with the ball in hand. He sent back the skipper Temba Bavuma.
Usama Mir greeted Heinrich Klaasen to the crease with a juicy full toss, which disappeared over the midwicket boundary. But he came back strongly to pick to dismiss the most valuable batter of the match, Aiden Markram. Usama Mir was unfazed by the aggressive batters. He bowled 9 full-length deliveries to lure the batsmen. The future looks promising for the 27-year-old if he can control his line.
Haris Rauf was expensive once more, but his two wickets gave the Pakistani fans a bit of hope going into the final overs. Mohammad Nawaz failed once again to provide a breakthrough. Was the choice of leaving Imad Wasim at home a wise one?
Heinrich Klaasen did not have a memorable day with the bat, but he was the star of the show in fielding. He took a sharp catch to dismiss Imam, a well-judged catch to send Iftikhar back. Quinton de Kock performed his role behind the wicket perfectly, with four catches in the innings. Marco Jansen dropped a sharp chance off his own bowling; Mohammad Rizwan would have been out for a duck if that happened.
Pakistanis looked like a totally transformed side with a fantastic shift on the outfield. Haris Rauf plucked the ball out of the air with the left hand to catch and bowl Lungi Ngidi out. Babar took a fine catch to dismiss Jansen, then followed it with another from Markram. Mohammad Rizwan took two catches behind the wicket, taking his number of dismissals to 76 in ODIs.
Saud Shakeel continued his good form going at this tournament, posting another score of run-a-ball 52. Babar Azam scored 50 runs to give the top order some performance
Shadab Khan came with all guns blazing; his score of 43 runs from 36 balls helped Pakistan post a fighting total on the board.
Tabraiz Shamsi was the pick of the South African bowlers, claiming four wickets for 60 runs. Marco Jansen struck fear early on and ended up with three scalps. Young Gerald Coetzee impressed once more with two wickets to his name.
Aiden Markram has been in excellent form throughout this tournament; his exquisite innings of 91 gave the chase some purpose. He found a good companion in David Miller, who scored 29 from 33 balls. Shaheen Afridi secured a trio of wickets for 45 runs.
The first-ever concussion substitute for Pakistan – Usama Mir, got two to help the Pakistani cause. Mohammad Wasim Jr. had a memorable World Cup debut from a personal perspective; he completed his spell with 2 wickets.
It was a game of multiple twists, with the momentum of the game swinging both ways. Haris Rauf was bowling at the final pair of the South African batters. South Africa still needed to get five runs off the last 24 deliveries. Haris Rauf bowled a sharp inswinger to Tabraiz Shamsi, who missed it completely. The ball cannoned into the South African spinner’s pads. After an elongated appeal, umpire Alex Wharf decided the ball was going to miss the stumps. Pakistani skipper Babar Azam opted for a review straight away.
The Pakistani players waited anxiously and watched in horror as the hawk showed the ball was just going to kiss the leg stump. Shami somehow survived the umpire’s call. On another day, the umpire would have opted for the other decision.
South Africa won the nail-biter with one wicket in hand and 16 balls remaining.
Player of the Match
Tabraiz Shamsi was adjudged as the best player of the match with his four-wicket haul for 60 runs and 4 runs scored off 6 balls to claim a thrilling victory.
|Pakistan Total: 270/10 (46.4 overs)||South Africa Total: 271/9 (47.2 overs)|
|Saud Shakeel 52 (52)||Aiden Markram 91 (93)|
|Babar Azam 50 (65)||David Miller 29 (33)|
|Tabraiz Shamsi 4/60||Shaheen Afridi 3/45|
|Marco Jansen 3/43||Usama Mir 2/45|
Pakistan fought till the end, but it was another day for a Proteas win. The World Cup demonstrated once again what World Cup cricket is all about – with its thrills, twists, and turns. The South Africans go top with this precious win, leveling with India on points but surpassing them on net run rate. Conversely, the Pakistanis are languishing in the sixth spot, their World Cup dreams all but gone. They will face Bangladesh on the 31st of October to salvage some pride from that game. South Africa will clash with another favorite, New Zealand, on Wednesday.