Fri | Dec 2, 2016

Pakistan surprise South Africa at Cricket World Cup

Published:Sunday | March 8, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Pakistan's Wahab Riaz (left) runs to his teammate Mohammad Irfan as they celebrate their 29 runs win over South Africa in their Cricket World Cup Pool B match in Auckland, New Zealand, yesterday.
South African batsman Quinton De Kock walks from the field after he was dismissed for no score during their Cricket World Cup Pool B match in Auckland, New Zealand, yesterday.
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AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP):

Pakistan pulled off a surprise 29-run win over South Africa in the World Cup yesterday after Proteas captain A.B. de Villiers couldn't manage to carry his team to victory as his teammates collapsed around him.

Pakistan scored just 222 in their rain-affected innings at Eden Park and appeared headed for defeat against South Africa's powerful batting line-up.

The Proteas, needing 232 to win under the Duckworth-Lewis system, raced to 67-1 after nine overs but then collapsed, losing five wickets for 35 runs. De Villiers led a rearguard South African comeback, smashing 77 off 58 balls, but it wasn't quite enough as the team was all out for 202.

The win puts Pakistan back in contention in the tournament after two early losses meant they were in a struggle just to make the quarter-finals.

"We started playing good cricket, some aggressive cricket, which I think Pakistan cricket is known for in the past," said coach Waqar Younis. "We started finding the right combination. People have started believing in themselves, players have started trusting their abilities."

Pakistan wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed won man-of-the-match honours after scoring 49 and then equalling the world record for a one-day match by taking six catches. It was his first game in the tournament, after he was brought in as a replacement for struggling opener Nasir Jamshed.

De Villiers said it felt like South Africa didn't have enough energy.

"I just could feel that nothing was really happening at 100 percent," he said. "It was almost like a car that's stuck in second or third gear, and that's not going to win you cricket games, especially not under pressure and in big tournaments like this."

Two rain delays during Pakistan's innings suspended play for about 75 minutes in total, reducing the match to 47 overs per side. In the end, neither side batted out their overs.

South Africa won the toss and sent Pakistan in to bat. A number of batsmen got off to promising starts but didn't follow through with big scores. Captain Misbah ul-Haq led the way with a solid knock of 56.

Pakistan put on 30 runs for the first wicket, the best start they have made in this World Cup after managing a top score of just 11 in their previous four games.

South Africa, after losing the early wicket of Quinton de Kock, appeared poised to crush Pakistan as they scored at more than seven runs per over. Opener Hashim Amla crashed eight consecutive fours to open his tally, finally hitting a two before smashing a ninth boundary.

But then FranÁois du Plessis was caught behind in the 10th over, sparking a surprising collapse. Amla, who had looked in complete control, was out the same way in the next over for 38 to a spectacular one-handed catch by Sarfraz.