Umar Akmal led a Pakistan revival as the defending World Twenty20 champions kept themselves in a must-win Super Eights game against South Africa by making 148 for seven here on Monday.
Pakistan slumped to 18 for three, in a match they have to win to have any chance at all of reaching the semi-finals, but Umar Akmal’s quickfire 51 helped prevent total collapse.
A stand of 51 in six overs between Umar and his brother Kamran Akmal (37) revived the innings before Umar put on 61 with captain Shahid Afridi (30), who’d won the toss.
Fast-medium bowler Charl Langeveldt, maintaining an admirable line, took four wickets for just 19 runs from his maximum four overs.
South Africa’s seamers had early success, Dale Steyn breaking through with his fourth ball when Salman Butt miscued a pull and was well caught by Proteas captain Graeme Smith, running back from mid-on.
Khalid Latif fell in similar fashion and then Mohammad Hafeez was plumb lbw to Langeveldt for one.
But the Akmal brothers got the innings going again, Kamran slog-sweeping Roelof van der Merwe and Umar playing a similar stroke for six against the left-arm spinner as 14 runs came off the eighth over.
At the halfway stage Pakistan were 50 for three and that became 69 for four after an eventful 11th over.
It began with Umar Akmal lofting van der Merwe for a straight six.
Kamran then drive two sixes off the fourth and fifth deliveries, the first straight, the second soaring high over wide long-on. But off the last ball of the over, Kamran Akmal was well caught by a diving Herschelle Gibbs off a cut shot.
Afridi kept the runs coming by carving Kallis over the covers for four and next ball pulling him for another boundary.
Umar Akmal reached his 31-ball fifty in style with a fourth six, driven straight off Langeveldt.
But, two balls later, he failed to clear the boundary and was caught by Gibbs off Langeveldt.
And 130 for five was transformed into 132 for six three balls later when Afridi, moving outside leg, was bowled off-stump by Langeveldt.
Pakistan have to win this match to have a chance of reaching the semi-finals, although they also needed England to beat New Zealand in the final Group E match later here on Monday.
Victory for South Africa would guarantee England’s place in the semi-finals but leave the Proteas needing England to beat New Zealand to advance into the last four.
If New Zealand were to win, South Africa would most likely be out, unless they beat Pakistan by a huge margin and New Zealand only win narrowly.