South Africa clinched victory by a margin of just one wicket, finishing at 271 for 9, with Markram scoring 91 runs, while Afridi took three wickets, in their match against Pakistan, who posted a total of 270 runs. Pakistan's innings saw Shakeel contributing 52 runs and Babar adding 50, with Shamsi claiming four wickets, in a nail-biting encounter.
By PakPassion Staff (27th October, 2023)
South Africa Emerges Victorious in Nail-Biting ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 Encounter
In what has been the only close game of the World Cup, South Africa defeated Pakistan by just one wicket in Chennai.
After Pakistan set a target of 271 runs, South Africa's top order got off to a flying start, but they lost four wickets in quick succession to find themselves in a precarious position. However, with 11 runs to win and 1 wicket in hand, Keshav Maharaj displayed remarkable composure to strike the winning runs and secure a hard-fought victory for the Proteas.
Pakistan's Solid Start
Pakistan captain Babar Azam elected to bat first on a hot and humid day in Chennai. The openers, Abdullah Shafique and Imam-ul-Haq, made a cautious start, negotiating the early movement from the South African bowlers. However, the 6-foot-9-inch Marco Jansen eventually made the breakthroughs as he dismissed both openers in quick succession.
South Africa Strikes Back
Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan rebuilt the innings, with Rizwan showing fierce intent. He went after the South African bowlers, who struggled to tame him. Meanwhile, the Pakistan skipper anchored the innings more cautiously and reached his half-century. However, the South Africans struck back, taking wickets at frequent intervals. Gerald Coetzee bounced Rizwan, whereas Babar’s struggles against spin came back to haunt him as he feathered a ball from Shamsi to the keeper.
Saud Shakeel and Shadab Khan Rebuild
At 141/4 in the 28th over, Saud Shakeel and Shadab Khan put on a crucial 84-run partnership to revive Pakistan's innings. The partnership, scoring at over a run a ball, had the South African bowlers on the backfoot until Shakeel was eventually dismissed for 52 in the 43rd over, caught at deep square leg off a bouncer from Lungi Ngidi. Shadab was dismissed in the following over, caught at mid-off off Tabraiz Shamsi's bowling. The Pakistan tail offered little resistance, adding only 30 more runs before being dismissed in the 47th over.
South Africa's Chase
South Africa's chase got off to a flying start, with Quinton de Kock and Temba Bavuma unleashing in the power play. They had scored 34 in the first 4 overs before Shaheen struck, dismissing de Kock, the leading run-scorer of the World Cup. Wasim Jr. took the scalp of the South African captain in his first over.
Usama Mir, the concussion substitute for Shadab Khan, who injured himself in the first over of the South African innings, struck in his first over, trapping Van der Dussen in a close LBW decision. The South African middle order batted around Aiden Markram, who looked in control throughout his innings, but the Pakistan bowlers chipped away at the other end. The crucial breakthrough for Pakistan came when they dismissed Marco Jansen, and South Africa was 235/6.
A Tense Finish
It was at this point that Pakistan’s bowlers came alive, displaying their raw aggression for the first time in this ICC event since their game against the Netherlands. Shaheen, Rauf, and Wasim Jr. picked up their pace and got the ball to nip and reverse. Usama Mir got the ball to spin and drift, and just like that, South Africa had crumbled, needing 11 to win with 1 wicket in hand.
Matters became charged on Haris Rauf’s last ball when he got the ball to reverse swing and trapped Shamsi. Pakistan reviewed the not-out decision by the on-field umpire, which showed it to be the umpire's call. After that, with the fast bowlers having completed their quota of overs, Keshav Maharaj got South Africa over the line by hitting a short ball from Mohammad Nawaz to the boundary in a nail-biting finish.
South Africa now ends up at the top of the table, almost guaranteed a spot in the Semi-Finals, whereas Pakistan’s chances are increasingly improbable.