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Pakistan clinch thrilling eight-run win over SA

Pakistan claimed a thrilling eight-run victory against South Africa in their first top-level match on home soil in over 15 months on Friday.

india Updated: Oct 04, 2003 12:40 IST

Pakistan claimed a thrilling eight-run victory against South Africa in their first top-level match on home soil in over 15 months on Friday.

The day-night limited overs match at the Gaddafi Stadium was the first in the five-match series against the Proteas, who are here on a shortened tour after briefly cancelling due to security fears.

Stringent security was in place for the series opener in this eastern city with more than 2,000 policemen and 150 commandos on guard. A bomb disposal squad had cleared all 14 stands of the stadium before the match.

Some 20 policemen kept a tight watch over each stand for the game which attracted a capacity crowd of 28,000.

Fans in Pakistan have been starved of international cricket since anti-Christian and anti-Western attacks last year kept foreign teams away.

Friday's match was a thriller with South Africa's Boeta Dippenaar scoring a maiden hundred with a boundary off Shoaib Akhtar to bring the visitors to within 13 runs of an improbable win in the last over.

But Mohammad Sami held his nerve and conceded just four runs to seal the home team's win.

Pakistan owed victory to Shoaib Malik's fiery unbeaten 82 off just 41 balls to post a respectable 277-6 after they won the toss and decided to bat.

Dippenaar's superb knock lasted 131 balls and he hit seven boundaries and two sixes. Needing a run rate of 5.56 per over, Dippenaar and skipper Graeme Smith gave the tourists a sound start of 138 and batted with confidence despite being behind in the required run rate.

Fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar returned for his second spell to dismiss Smith, caught at mid-on for a 99-ball 71 and in his next over bowled Jacques Kallis with an inside edge for one.

McKenzie, dropped on 13 and 25, assisted Dippenaar in a third wicket stand of 101 and despite needing a rate of eight in the last ten overs remained focused on the task, taking 16 off recalled leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed's last over.

Mushtaq, playing his first one-day for Pakistan in three years, was ineffective and finished with 0-65 in ten overs.

With South Africa needing 49 from the last six overs, Pakistan's last hope Shoaib came in for his third spell, dismissing McKenzie for a run-a-ball 62 which included five boundaries.

In the 47th over Shoaib bowled Mark Boucher and two balls later Mohammad Sami got rid of Shaun Pollock to tilt the match in home team's favour.

Dippenaar's previous best score of 93 was also made against Pakistan at Cape Town during South Africa's 4-1 win last year.

Pakistan's innings was built on a slow but steady second wicket stand of 82 off 125 balls between Yousuf Youhana and Yasir Hameed after they had lost opener Mohammad Hafeez for five in the fifth over.

Youhana, who made 366 in Pakistan's 5-0 win in their one-day series against Bangladesh last month, hit his 31st one-day fifty and finished with 68 off 87 balls but could hit only two boundaries before edging Andrew Hall to wicketkeeper Mark Boucher in the 39th over.

Hameed made a sedate 56 before he was smartly beaten by a Smith throw from mid-off while Younis Khan was also run out for 19 before Malik took centrestage.

Malik added a quick 64 off 52 balls for the fifth wicket with skipper Inzamam-ul Haq who made a 35-ball 37 with two boundaries and a six.

Local boy Malik, 21, hit four sixes off the last ten balls, to soar Pakistan's total to a defendable limit.

Malik hit South African spearhead Pollock for two fours and two sixes in the 49th over and blasted three consecutive sixes off Kallis in the last over to give the needed impetus as Pakistan added 105 in the last ten overs.

Pollock unleashed a tight line and length, conceding just seven in his first six overs but finished with 1-46 in his ten while Kallis finished with 2-53.
Pollock's new ball partner Makhaya Ntini conceded 26 in two spells of three overs.

The second of the five-match series will be played at the same venue on Sunday.

Scorecard

First Published: Oct 04, 2003 12:04 IST