DURBAN: Pakistan captain Misbahul Haq led his side to a three-wicket win over South Africa in the fourth One-Day International (ODI), setting up a series decider in the final match in Benoni.
Misbah made 80 and Imran Farhat scored 93 as Pakistan chased down South Africa’s total of 234 for nine with eight balls to spare.
Misbah and opening batsman Farhat shared a 153-run fourth wicket partnership after Pakistan had been struggling at 33 for three after 11 overs.
The early wickets included that of Mohammad Hafeez, who was given out for obstructing the field in the second over.
He changed direction and was hit on the leg by a throw from South African wicket-keeper and captain AB de Villiers, who was throwing at the stumps at the bowler’s end when Hafeez was several metres out of his ground.
Hafeez was only the fourth batsmen – and the third Pakistani — to be dismissed for obstructing the field in ODIs.
Pakistan’s fast-bowlers struck early and off-spinner Saeed Ajmal took three crucial middle order wickets as South Africa struggled after winning the toss, despite a fourth wicket stand of 115 between captain De Villiers (75) and David Miller (67).
De Villiers and Miller gave the home side hope of making a good total before Miller missed a sweep against Ajmal and was out after a career-best innings. Miller’s 67 was scored off 77 balls and he hit seven fours.
Misbah pleased with show
The Pakistan captain, who has yet to hit a ODI century in 113 matches, was a pleased man nevertheless. “It was a much-needed win,” said Misbah. “Everybody put in their 100% in and it was a team effort. Farhat batted really well. We need one batsman to stay till the end and he showed that responsibility.
“The seamers bowled really well. It was like we were playing in Lahore, thanks to the crowd. It was not easy the way South Africa bowled. We were put under a lot of pressure.”
De Villiers credited Pakistan for the win. “Its two quality sides,” said de Villiers. “Unfortunately, we lost the momentum too many times today. We showed character with the bat, but didn’t put the pressure. Pakistan just outplayed us in certain areas.”
Published in The Express Tribune, March 22nd, 2013.