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HindustanTimes Fri,25 Apr 2014

Cricket

Pakistan levels ODI series with 6-wicket win
AP
Centurion, South Africa, March 16, 2013
First Published: 09:11 IST(16/3/2013)
Last Updated: 09:15 IST(16/3/2013)

Captain Misbah-ul-Haq scored an unbeaten half century and Mohammad Irfan took a career-best 4-33 as Pakistan beat South Africa by six wickets in the second one-day international to level the five-match series 1-1.

The 2.16-meter paceman Irfan mopped up the top order to bowl out South Africa for 191 in 43.2 overs with rain stopping play for nearly 2 1/2 hours and the match yesterday reduced to 44 overs a side.

Misbah then led from the front with a gritty 57 not out and Shoaib Malik hit an enterprising 35 off 38 balls to guide Pakistan to 192-4 in 39.2 overs.

Pakistan, whitewashed 3-0 in the test series, lost the first ODI by 125 runs. The third match will be at Johannesburg tomorrow.

Misbah made sure Pakistan batting did not crumble while chasing a modest target at SuperSport Park where Pakistan also won the Twenty20 match.

"It is really satisfying for us, the batsmen are getting the confidence back," Misbah said. "Picking Irfan was an attacking move, he gave us a big advantage. There were a few spots in the pitch where the ball was stopping and kicking, there was a bit of variable bounce, it was not easy to bat on."

The captain hit three fours and three sixes in his 75-ball knock and added 77 runs for the unbroken match-winning, fourth-wicket stand with former skipper Malik. Malik was more enterprising as he hit left-arm fast bowler Lonwabo Tsotsobe for three boundaries in one over in his knock off 38 balls.

South Africa had a glimmer of hope when it reduced Pakistan to 69-3 in the 15th over before Misbah and Younis Khan (32) ensured there were no hiccups with a 46-run third-wicket partnership.

Younis gave left-arm spinner Robin Peterson (2-52) his second wicket, but Malik and Misbah batted with authority and guided Pakistan home with more than four overs to spare.

Earlier, Irfan troubled batsmen with his extra bounce and removed Hashim Amla (17) and first ODI century-maker Colin Ingram off successive deliveries before getting rid of Graeme Smith (10) and Faf du Plessis (17) to leave South Africa reeling at 62-5 in 11 overs.

Farhaan Behardien (58) scored a fighting maiden half century and holed out in the deep a ball before the thunderstorm forced the players off the field in the 39th over. Robin Peterson (44) added 67 with Behardien before he was the last man to be dismissed in the 44th over.

Pakistan's decision to include a third paceman in place of a batsman paid off as South Africa captain AB de Villiers won the toss and elected to bat first.


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