ABU DABHI: Abdul Razzaq gave Pakistan welcome on-field respite with a stunning century to set up a dramatic one-wicket victory over South Africa in the second One-Day International on Sunday.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) earlier confirmed suspensions on three Pakistan players over spot-fixing allegations and the team looked to be struggling as they chased a formidable target of 287.
But Razzaq launched an astonishing assault to smash an unbeaten 109 from just 72 balls and seal victory with one ball to spare. Razzaq struck seven fours and 10 sixes to rescue Pakistan from 228 for seven, adding 32 for the final wicket with Shoaib Akhtar who faced just a single delivery.
South Africa’s huge total of 286 for eight was built around a second century by 25-year-old left-hander Colin Ingram in just his fifth match and featured rapid half-centuries from opener Hashim Amla and middle-order batsman J-P Duminy.
Ingram started slowly on an awkward pitch and was given a life of 54 when Zulqarnain Haider missed a straightforward stumping chance but grew in confidence to reach exactly 100 from 119 deliveries with 10 fours and a six. Amla belted four of his first seven deliveries to the boundary in a runaway start before slowing to reach 65 from 62 balls. Duminy ended the innings in style with 54 from just 43 balls including three fours and a towering straight six.
Pakistan seemed certain to pay the price for a pedestrian start during which they crawled to 135 for five in the 30th over before Razzaq rewrote the script and blasted 14 runs from the final over from just five balls to square the series at 1-1. The third match takes place in Dubai on Tuesday.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 1st, 2010.