Pakistan kept their hopes alive of advancing to the T20 World Cup 2022 semi-final after beating South Africa by 33 runs (DLS Method) in the Super 12 match at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
The Men in Green also moved to third in the points table with South Africa staying in second below table-toppers India.
After opting to bat first in the must-win contest, Pakistan found themselves in trouble after Mohammad Rizwan perished in single digits. Babar Azam’s poor run of form continued after Lungi Ngidi accounted for his wicket.
Mohammad Haris, who replaced Fakhar Zaman, came out firing on all cylinders after he scored 28 runs off 11 balls with two fours and three sixes. Shan Masood also failed to make an impact. Mohammad Nawaz made 28 off 22, but after his dismissal, Pakistan were reduced to 95 for five in 13 overs.
From there on, Iftikhar Ahmed and Shadab Khan took charge. Iftikhar scored 51 off 35, but it was Shadab who grabbed the limelight. The right-handed Shadab scored a fifty off 20 balls and made the second-fastest fifty by a Pakistani batter in the T20 World Cups after Shoaib Malik.
On the back of their knocks, Pakistan posted a competitive score of 185 for the loss of nine wickets. Anrich Nortje was the pick of the South African bowlers, although he leaked 41 runs.
The run-chase didn’t start on an auspicious note as Shaheen Shah Afridi sent back Quinton de Kock and Rilee Rossouw in quick succession. However, a 49-run stand between Temba Bavuma and Aiden Markram restored sanity to proceedings.
Bavuma was looking ominous, having scored 36 off 19, but Shadab had other ideas. In the eighth over, the leg-spinner first removed Bavuma, after which he sent Marram back. At the end of the 19th over, rain interrupted play and the Proteas were 16 runs behind the DLS par score.
After play resumed, South Africa were given a revised target of 142 off 14 overs, meaning that they had to score 73 runs in their last five overs to win the match.
Tristan Stubbs and Heinrich Klaasen threw their bats around, but the required rate kept climbing. In a bid to go for big shots, South Africa lost wickets at regular intervals and fell way short of the target. They finished with 108 for nine in 14 overs.