All-rounder Mohammad Hafeez and Imam-ul-Haq played crucial knocks to see Pakistan beat South Africa in the opening game of the five-match one-day series played in Port Elizabeth. Hafeez scored unbeaten 71 off 63 balls to help Pakistan take 1-0 lead in the one-day series. This was Pakistan’s highest run-chase in South Africa.
In pursuit of 267 runs, Openers Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman got Pakistan off to a perfect start and added 45 runs in space of eight overs. Zaman was dismissed by a short-pitch delivery from Duanne Olivier to see Pakistan lose their first wicket. Babar Azam came to the crease and looked positive from the start. He put on a 94 run partnership with Imam to see Pakistan placed in a comfortable position after 25 overs. Azam played for his 49 off 69 balls with the help of five boundaries.
Imam-ul-Haq looked busy at the crease and kept the scoreboard ticking along nicely. He scored 86 runs off 101 balls with the help of five fours and two sixes. Olivier dismissed Imam in the 3th over of the innings to see South Africa make a comeback into the game.
The quick dismissals of Shoaib Malik and Captain Sarfaraz Ahmed saw the game go down to the wire. Hafeez kept his composure and picked up boundaries at crucial stages of the game. He added unbeaten 44-run partnership with Shadab Khan to see Pakistan win the game by 5 wickets.
For South Africa, Leg-spinner Imran Tahir was best bowler in the game with one wicket to his name.
Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Hafeez play crucial knocks to see Pakistan beat South Africa by five wickets in Port Elizabeth
Earlier in the day, Faf du Plessis won the toss and elected to bat first. Hashim Amla played well and scored his 27th century in limited-overs cricket. Debutant Rassie van der Dussen also played well for his 93 off 101 balls. The pair produced a partnership of 155 runs but were not able to score quickly at the back end of the innings.
For Pakistan, they were able to pick up only two wickets and kept South Africa to reasonable score in the end. Pacer Hasan Ali and Leg-spinner Shadab Khan were most economical bowlers for the visitors in the innings.
For his brilliant 71 runs, Mohammad Hafeez was named man of the match. The second game of the one-day series will be played on Wednesday in Kingsmead Cricket Ground, Durban.