Pakistan 267 for 5 (Imam 86, Hafeez 71*) beat South Africa 266 for 2 (Amla 108*, van der Dussen 93) by five wickets
PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa (AFP) – Senior campaigner Mohammad Hafeez helped his nerves to guide Pakistan to victory in their first one-day against South Africa on Saturday.
Hafeez struck two 6s and eight 4s in his 71 from just 63 balls to help Pakistan register a win. Imam ul Haq hit 86 off 101 balls while Babar Azam also chipped in 49 runs.
This was Pakistan’s highest run-chase against South Africa in South Africa.
Earlier, Hashim Amla hit his 27th one-day international century as South Africa made 266 for two in the first of five matches against Pakistan at St George’s Park on Saturday.
Amla (108 not out) shared a second-wicket partnership of 155 with debutant Rassie van der Dussen (93) but the pair were unable to dominate against steady bowling on a slow pitch.
That innings from Hashim Amla proved to be a match-losing one for his team. He did his job perfectly well till the 40th over but failed to hit those muscular hits in the slog overs. And in the modern game, finishing with the strike rate of 90 after batting for 50 overs on a batting friendly deck is ordinary stuff.
Although Pakistan were only able to claim two wickets, they bowled well on a windy day, with captain Sarfraz Ahmed juggling his bowlers in short spells.
Scoring was slow during the middle overs with seamer Hasan Ali and leg-spinner Shadab Khan bowling particularly well. They took one for 42 and one for 41 respectively in their ten overs.
Amla and Reeza Hendricks (45) put on 82 off 105 balls for the first wicket before Van der Dussen made a slow start in his first one-day international, taking ten balls to score his first run.
But the scoring rate picked up and Van der Dussen hit six fours and three sixes in a 101-ball innings. Amla made his runs off 120 balls with seven fours and a six.
Pakistan chased this total down in a clinical fashion. The target which South Africa set proved to be below par. There was absolutely nothing happeing off the deck and Pakistan batted brilliantly in the batting friendly conditions.
Pakistan’s openers started off in a fine fashion after Fakhar’s departure Imam and Babar added 94 runs and that provided a good platform for the visitors. Imam’s innings of 86 proved to be extremly handy.
The departure of Babar Azam brought Hafeez to the crease and he played an absolute gem. He timed the ball beautifully right from the start and took the responsibility on him to take the team home with an amazing fifty.
There were some minor blips in the end as Malik and skipper Sarfraz departed cheaply but Hafeez showed the experience and he along with Shadab powered the team over the line with five balls to spare. Hang on for the presentations.
Sarfaraz Ahmed: This performance is a great team effort. Imam, Babar and Hafeez did the job for us. In the middle part of the innnings, Shadab, Imad and Hafeez did a good job. I am always like that (On asked about being nervous in the dressing room.
Faf du Plessis: We were 10-15 runs short. The foundation was good but we could not added those extra runs in the end. They batted really well. These games is all about learning for us. We have had a great couple of weeks but today was a great learning curve for us. In-form Hashim is really important for us. Amla showed intent from the starting for us and his innings is a positive for us. They bowled really well in the middle overs. They bowled better than us in that phase.
Mohammad Hafeez, Man of the Match: It was a team effort. We were confident to chase this total down and everyone responded really well. Winning the first match is very important as it gives the momentum. When we restricted them to 266, we were very sure that we will chase the total down. Fakhar and Imam gave us a good start and then it was a total team effort.
Highlights of Match:
Link: 1 (Short Highlights)
Link: 2 (Full Highlights)
Link: 3 (Full Highlights)