GROS ISLET, St Lucia, CMC – Off-spinner Saeed Ajmal spun his way to four wickets as Pakistan held on to their hopes of a semi-final place in the World Twenty20 Championship by completing an 11-run victory over South Africa yesterday.
Needing to win to have any hope of remaining in the tournament, Pakistan tallied 148 for seven after opting to bat first at the Beausejour Cricket Stadium and then restricted the Proteas to 137 for seven.
The defeat dumped South Africa from the tournament following their 39-run loss to England in Barbados on Saturday coupled with their inferior net run rate.
Ajmal’s four victims included top scorer AB deVilliers whose 53 came off 41 balls with one four and two sixes.
He seem to be reviving South Africa’s run chase when he attempted a cheeky scoop and was caught by wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal running back at 101 for five in the 16th over.
The right handed de Villiers posted a crucial 33 off 19 balls for the fifth wicket with Mark Boucher (12).
South Africa started their innings without any urgency losing Herschelle Gibbs in the third over, caught by Misbah-Ul-Haq at mid-wicket for three with the score on 12 in the third over.
Captain Graeme Smith (13) then offered his opposite number Shahid Afridi an easy catch at mid on while trying to find the long on boundary, to leave his side struggling at 23 for two in the fifth over.
Jacques Kallis laboured to 22 off 21 balls before perishing and JP Duminy went for three with the score on 68 for four, skying a ball to midwicket for Khalid Latif to take the catch off left-arm spinner Abdul Rehman.
Mark Boucher contributed 12 before he was trapped in front by Ajmal with Pakistan on 113 for six in the 18th over and Johan Botha slammed 19 off 10 balls late on before becoming Ajmal’s fourth wicket as South Africa missed out on the final four. The Pakistanis were guided to their decent total thanks mainly to the efforts of Man-of-the-Match Umar Akmal who struck a blazing 51 from 33 balls comprising two fours and four sixes. He put on 51 for the fourth wicket with his older brother wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal whose contribution of 37 included three fours and two sixes.
When Kamran fell to a brilliant catch by Gibbs diving to his left at backward square, Umar Akmal added a further 61 for the fifth wicket with his captain Shahid Afridi whose 30 came off 18 balls with four fours and one six.
Fast bowler Charl Langeveldt, who finished with four for 19, accounted for Umar Akmal also caught by Gibbs the ball after he brought up his fifty at 130 for five in the 17th over.