South Africa Ends Pakistan’s World Cup Hopes in Thrilling Victory
In a heart-pounding contest that left cricket fans on the edge of their seats, South Africa clinched a nail-biting win against Pakistan, effectively sealing the latter’s exit from the World Cup. This victory marked South Africa’s first World Cup win over Pakistan since the 1999 edition and may have signaled a new era for the Proteas as they seek to shed their “chokers” label.
South Africa’s pursuit of a modest 271-run target appeared to be heading towards a straightforward victory. However, it soon turned into a thrilling and closely contested game as the Proteas slipped from a commanding position of 235 for 5 to a precarious 260 for 9. This dramatic shift in the match was attributed to an inspired display of high-quality pace bowling by Shaheen Shah Afridi (3/45) and Haris Rauf (2/62).
Just when it seemed that Pakistan might pull off an unexpected win, Keshav Maharaj (7 not out) and Tabraiz Shamsi (4 not out) held their nerve and added the crucial 11 runs required for victory. Their partnership in the 47.2 overs not only secured a special win but also propelled South Africa to the top of the points table with 10 points.
Tabraiz Shamsi, who was awarded the ‘Player of the Match’ for his match figures of 4 for 60, expressed his joy, stating, “This is not just four of the most important runs I have scored but perhaps the only four runs I have scored in the entire year.”
While the Proteas celebrated their hard-fought victory, Pakistan’s captain, Babar Azam, must have been ruing missed opportunities. His team’s batting display fell short of expectations, with Pakistan managing to score a below-par 270 runs despite Babar’s fifty and a promising start from Saud Shakeel.
South Africa’s Aiden Markram played a crucial role in the chase with a stellar knock of 91 off 93 balls, showcasing both his ability to accumulate runs and his aggressive intent. Contributions from David Miller and Marco Jansen also played a pivotal role in guiding South Africa toward their target.
Pakistan’s batting performance was a mixed bag, with Babar and Shakeel making fifties but failing to establish substantial partnerships. The last five wickets fell for just 45 runs, leaving Pakistan with a target that was ultimately insufficient.
In a remarkable twist, South Africa’s Marco Jansen made an impact early in the innings, dismissing both of Pakistan’s openers. However, he missed a crucial caught and bowled chance for Mohammad Rizwan, who managed to provide a strong start for Pakistan with his aggressive play. The match had several crucial moments, including the dismissal of Babar Azam, which was decided in South Africa’s favor after a review.
In the end, it was South Africa who emerged victorious, taking a significant step toward World Cup glory while Pakistan’s hopes of reaching the knockout stage dwindled with each passing game.