Miller fielding helps South Africa beat Pakistan in tough contest
CAPE TOWN- Seventy-eight from South Africa’s captain Faf du Plessis and 74 from Reeza Hendricks helped their team register a win over Pakistan who came within six runs of chasing 193.
But it was the exploits of David Miller in the field, who took four catches and two run outs that perhaps proved most pivotal.
South Africa, who were inserted in to bat by Pakistan’s captain Shoaib Malik lost an early wicket in their innings. Gihahn Cloete, playing in his second T20I, fell in the fourth over to Imad Wasim courtesy of a fine diving catch from Fakhar Zaman. Wasim, who was comfortably Pakistan’s most economical bowler – his four overs cost just 23 runs – was unable to prevent the onslaught that then came from Cloete’s fellow opener Reeza Hendricks and his skipper, du Plessis.
Their aggressive approach had South Africa at one point targeting a score of around 220. Both players were in superb form, not showing any mercy to the Pakistan attack as four of their bowlers went for at least 12 runs an over.
In the 16th over, both a huge team total and individual hundreds were on the cards. But, with the score on 157/1, Usman Shinwari, Pakistan’s left-arm quick, took two wickets in the space of three balls to shift the momentum of the innings.
First, Shoaib Malik took an excellent catch at mid-off to dismiss du Plessis, before Mohammad Rizwan caught van der Dussen for a duck as he tried to run the ball down to third man. The sharp catching continued for Pakistan as Shadab Khan took another blinder in the deep to dismiss Hendricks for 74 off Shinwari. Given South Africa’s position after 15 overs, Pakistan did well to restrict them to 192/6.
Chasing down 193 was always going to be a tall order for the tourists. The challenge was made significantly tougher after Fakhar Zaman played a Beuran Hendricks delivery straight to his namesake Reeza in the slips in the first over. 4/1 after three balls, not the start Pakistan had in mind.
But, to their credit, Babar Azam and Hussain Talat recovered well. While not quite maintaining the required run rate, they were never far off it. With an explosive middle and lower order to follow and Pakistan on 85/1 in the tenth over, the run chase’s foundations were set in place.
However, Tabraiz Shamsi’s dismissal of Talat – which came from a poorly executed hit down the ground – sparked a flurry of wickets that dampened Pakistan’s hopes. David Miller superbly run out Azam in the following over, while Asif Ali, Imad Wasim and Mohammad Rizwan all fell for single-figure to the fielding of Miller. He took a brilliant catch in the deep to dismiss Wasim while he ran out Rizwan with another direcet hit.
Despite wickets falling at the other end, Shoaib Malik’s blistering 49 just about kept his side in the game. Going into the last over, Pakistan needed 16. Chris Morris kept his cool though, and dismissed Malik with the third ball of the over to put the contest beyond doubt.-ICC