In a thrilling encounter that pushed Pakistan towards the brink of elimination, South Africa clinched a narrow 1-wicket victory in Friday’s World Cup clash in Chennai.
The critical juncture in the tournament sees Babar Azam’s squad in a precarious position, desperately needing favourable outcomes in their remaining games to entertain hopes of semi-final qualification.
Marking a historic moment, the Proteas triumphed over the Green Shirts in an ODI World Cup match for the first time since 1999. With this victory, South Africa boasts five wins in six games, creating a stark contrast to Pakistan’s struggle with only two wins and three games left at hand.
The chase of Pakistan’s 271 was fraught with tension, but Aiden Markram’s standout performance, delivering a spectacular 91-run knock, kept South African hopes alive and ultimately saw them across the finish line.
Pakistan’s Battle to Set a Competitive Score
Pakistan’s innings, however, was a tale of what could have been. They were dismissed for 270 in 46.4 overs, with Tabraiz Shamsi and Marco Jansen wreaking havoc with their bowling spells, claiming figures of 4/60 and 3/49, respectively. Gerald Coetzee also contributed significantly, securing two wickets for just 42 runs.
The team’s top order faltered dramatically, with both openers Abdullah Shafique and Imam-ul-Haq falling cheaply, placing Pakistan under immediate duress. Efforts to stabilize the innings saw a fighting 50 from captain Babar Azam and a supportive 31 from Mohammad Rizwan, but their dismissals signalled trouble. Despite aggressive counterattacks from Saud Shakeel and Shadab Khan and Mohammad Nawaz’s late effort, Pakistan’s batting ultimately folded before setting a truly competitive target.
Nail-Biting Chase Ensues
South Africa responded assertively with Quinton de Kock, but his early dismissal started a topsy-turvy chase. Despite losing key players, Rassie van der Dussen and Aiden Markram’s partnership injected stability until a sudden pair of dismissals rekindled Pakistani hopes. The game’s decisive moment arrived with Markram and Miller’s pivotal 70-run stand, setting the stage for a tense finale that eventually tipped in South Africa’s favour.
This victory significantly boosts the Proteas’ standing in the tournament, while Pakistan contemplates the steep climb ahead, reliant on other results to keep their semi-final aspirations alive.