Mercurial Pakistan trumps South Africa by 19 runs in rain-affected game at Edgbaston

Pakistan once again proved to be a mercurial side in world cricket as they produced a fabulous display with ball to outclass South Africa by 19 runs via Duckworth/Lewis Method in the seventh game of Champions Trophy played at Edgbaston Cricket Ground in Birmingham. Pakistan looked hapless against India in the previous game but come this game they turned out to be a different side altogether as green shirts showcased determination and guts with the ball in hand to restrict South Africa 220 runs from 50 Overs. Junaid Khan and debutant Fakhar Zaman were slotted into the team for Ahmed Shehzad and Wahab Riaz.

It was quite a tricky chase for Pakistan with rain starting to gain prominence as the match went on in the later stages. Debutant Fakhar Zaman played well with unflappable approach as he made a quick-fire 31 runs to rattle the likes of Wayne Parnell and Kagiso Rabada in the initial overs of the innings. Zaman played his stroke and went after short stuff dished out by South Africa pace attack. Morne Morkel came into the attack and bowled a slower delivery to see Zaman edged the ball to Hashim Amla at first slip.

Azhar Ali played rash stroke trying to upper-cut a rising delivery from Morkel only to see Imran Tahir take a clean catch at third man. South Africa suddenly found themselves well in the mix with two quick wickets but Babar Azam and Mohammad Hafeez played sensibly to add 52 runs to stabilize the innings. Morkel bowled superbly well for his three wickets from his seven-overs while the rest of the bowling failed to make inroads into Pakistan’s batting lineup.

Shoaib Malik came to the crease and pushed the rate of scoring along with Azam to make sure Pakistan were well ahead of D/L method once rain came down heavily and it lashed across the ground continuously to see the game called off with Pakistan being the winners of this contest.

Earlier, South Africa won the toss and opted to bat first in order big runs on the board. The pitch looked dry and abrasive to begin with as Mohammad Amir and Junaid Khan bowled tidy spells upfront without much luck. Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock played well in the first ten overs but when Imad Wasim the fortunes changed as Amla was trapped right in front to see South Africa lose their first wicket.

Mohammad Hafeez replaced Junaid Khan from the other end and created the pressure which resulted in De Kock playing a poor stroke to trapped leg before to see South Africa reduced to 60 for 2 in 13.6 overs. South Africa woes increased as Captain AB de Villiers slashed a delivery from Imad to be dismissed for a gold duck and Pakistan firmly on top in the game.

Faf du Plessis struggled for timing and rhythm on surface that was helping the slow bowlers as he added 29 runs with David Miller. Du Plessis’s timid display with the bat ended Hasan Ali dismissed as he edged a delivery onto the stumps to see South Africa in all sorts of trouble.

Pakistan went on the attack as medium pacer Hasan dismissed JP Duminy and Wayne Parnell in consecutive deliveries to see no.1 ranked side reeling at 118 for 6 after 28.6 overs. In middle of all chaos, David Miller stood firm as he produced unbeaten 75 runs off 104 balls to see South Africa post 220 runs on the board. He added vital 47 runs with Morris and then 48 with Kagiso Rabada to see side go past beyond 200-run mark.

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