Pakistan: 207/4 (Imran Farhat 56, Mohammad Hafeez 54, Umar Amin 27*, Tsotsobe 2/43) beat South Africa: 202/9 (McLaren 55, Duminy 41, Miller 26, Asad Ali 3/30, Wahab Riaz 3/30, Junaid Khan 2/41) by six wickets
Pakistan beat South Africa by six wickets in their warm-up match at the Oval today.
The biggest question that will be asked of South Africa is that of their batting after they set Pakistan a target of 203 runs. One might look at the scorecard and think the bowling attack sat up and meandered through the motions. Unless the pitch is spiteful, defending such a total takes hard work.
Against a batting line-up that is learning to adjust to life after Younus Khan and Shahid Afridi, a run-chase without undue flutters was the one thing they needed.
Pakistan tends to deal with pressure in varying manners. At times they thrive on it while at times they have a propensity to wilt. There are a number of batting factors that will work for them should they have favourable conditions on their side or if they rock up mentally.
Burly left-hander Nasir Jamshed can hit the ball hard very hard and provide his team with electric starts if there is no lateral movement. Before his suicidal single to the very end in which Colin Ingram was run out, he looked the most threatening of the Pakistani batsmen until Mohammad Hafeez came in.
In an 85-run partnership with Imran Farhat, their familiarity of the South African attack ensured that they knew which bowlers to take on and which ones to leave alone.
The lack of grass on an anodyne pitch meant Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn were rendered toothless. Hafeez was his ebullient self, clubbing eight fours in his 71-ball innings before retiring. Pakistan will expect a lot from him in Younus’ absence.
Hafeez’s innings allowed Farhat to bat quietly in his slipstream. In his 82-ball innings studded with five boundaries, he laid down the anchor that the team used very well. Morne Morkel, along with Lonwabo Tsotsobe, extracted bounce which was well negotiated by the Pakistani batsmen.
Dale Steyn, who limped off with stiffness in his back, was fast but not threatening in his five overs. The low total meant none of the South African bowlers could find the foothold they were looking for.
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