All to play for in final ODI

The South Africa vs Pakistan ODI series is going down to the wire after Pakistan levelled the series in the 4th ODI to make it 2-2 with one game to play in Benoni on Sunday. Here is the review of the match.

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South Africa won the toss and surprisingly chose to bat first, as many felt bowling first would’ve been the better option on that surface. Probably the reason for the decision being that they didn’t want the Pakistan spinners to bowl last on that wicket.

Mohammad Irfan got the Pakistanis off to a superb start with two wickets in his first two deliveries which put huge pressure on the two senior men (Smith, and de Villiers) at the crease.

de Villiers then went about repairing the South African innings, getting through some tricky spells by Irfan, and Khan, but failed to get any support at the other end as he could only watch as Smith, and Behardien departed cheaply to leave SA reeling.

Then the new man into the team David Miller who was replacing the injured du Plessis came to the wicket and was solid at the crease putting on a much-needed partnership with de Villiers as the pair put on a 115 run partnership before Miller was trapped lbw for 67 off 77 deliveries, justifying his inclusion in the team ahead of de Kock.

The importance of de Villiers’ wicket increased drastically with that dismissal and disaster struck when he was caught by Akmal for 75.

It was then up to the all rounders to finish the innings off and get South Africa to a competitive total. Something that would prove difficult with the spin bowling of Pakistan looking especially dangerous. It proved to be a tough task for the lower order though as they couldn’t get the spinners away, and if it wasn’t for a late onslaught by Peterson against the Pace bowlers, South Africa would’ve ended on a lot less than 234/9 in their alloted 50 overs.

For Pakistan, their bowlers had a good day, with Ajmal the pick of the bowlers finishing with figures of 3-42 in his 10 overs, with Irfan, and Khan also doing a wonderful job with figures of 3-46 and 3-45 respectively.

So with the bowlers having done their part, it was now up to the batsman to do the job for Pakistan as they set out on their chase of a below par 235 to win.

There was controversy early on in the Pakistan innings when Hafeez was given out obstructing the field for running into the line of the ball to stop a possible run-out. Things didn’t get any better for Pakistan as they lost Akmal, and Khan soon after which left them in desperate need of a partnership.

Farhat and Misbah then joined at the crease and single-handedly took the game away from the Proteas with some solid, minimal risk batting, as they put on a 153 run stand before Misbah eventually lost his wicket for a well-played 80 when he skied a Peterson delivery and was caught. By the time the wicket had fallen though, the match was beyond South Africa, and the rest of the Pakistan batsmen got their team over the line without much hassle.

Matthew Nepgen

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