A rescue effort from David Miller saw the Proteas labour to 219-8 against Pakistan at Edgbaston on Wednesday.
It was a match the Proteas were expected to breeze past fairly comfortably, but Pakistan’s unpredictable legacy lives on. While Mickey Arthur’s side still have a bit of work to do, they will back themselves to chase down this target.
South Africa’s decision to bat first was an interesting one to say the least. Pakistan’s strength lies in their bowling, and with a bit of rain expected in the evening, the shortened target might favour them. The clouds continue to hover over Edgbaston however, so the Proteas will hope a bit of swing and a slightly uneven pitch will help their bowlers.
Pakistan have their spinners to thank for gnawing away at the top order, with Imad Wasim (2-20) and Mohammad Hafeez (1-51) accounting for the top three, before Hasan Ali (3-24) tucked into the middle order.
Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock got off to a decent start, playing risk-free to get to 40. Amla was then trapped in front by Wasim for 16. De Kock could have been out on 28 had Pakistan reviewed an lbw shout, and that seemed to fluster him a bit, missing a straight one which crashed on to his pads to walk for 33.
At the pre-match press conference AB de Villiers spoke of Pakistan having two part-time spinners in their side, perceivably suggesting that they don’t offer much of a threat. One of those ‘part-timers’, Wasim, was responsible for De Villiers’ first-ever golden duck in ODIs, offering a simple chance to Hafeez at point.
Pakistan continued to chip away, but this time it was Hasan’s turn to inflict the damage. Faf du Plessis (26) chopped one on, JP Duminy (8) sent one through to first slip, and Wayne Parnell became the second golden duck of the day. This time it was a screamer from Hasan, clean bowling the all-rounder.
The damage meant that the Proteas couldn’t find the boundary for a spell as long as 16.2 overs. Chris Morris broke that dilemma in the 39th over, but with only 12 boundaries throughout the entire innings, it was an issue for the South Africans throughout.
Morris and Miller’s rescue act was vital, as they scored 47 between them. Morris was bowled off a no-ball in the 41st, but he soon departed for 28. If that partnership was vital, then the one between Miller and Kagiso Rabada (26) even more so, adding another 48 before Hasan took an excellent catch running back towards the boundary.
Miller could only hit six runs off the last over, but his 75, off 103 balls, has given the Proteas a fighting chance.
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