PROTEAS BEAT PAKISTAN BY 67 RUNS
By: Khanyisani Dlomo
Proteas regained control of their destiny at the ICC Champions Trophy tournament on Monday when they beat Pakistan by 67 runs with five wickets to spare at Edgbaston Stadium.
It was the Proteas’ second match of the group. In the first game, they were defeated by India last Thursday. Captain Abraham Benjamin de Villiers won his second successive toss and was elected to bat first.
The result moved South African boys on a positive run and they are on the third spot in the group, just behind India and West Indies, whilst Pakistan holds the bottom of the table.
After 50 overs, Proteas finished on a modest 234 runs. The Proteas’ total was set up by man-of-the-match Hashim Amla who made 81 off 97 balls with nine boundaries. De Villiers managed to secure 31 runs out of 31 deliveries.
The 234 runs seemed to be little as Pakistan has some good batsmen and bowlers. The seam bowling trio of Ryan McLaren, Lonwabo Tsotsobe and new cap Chris Morris did a superb job and Pakistan never got up to speed with the required run rate.
Proteas were under pressure as they played without their two leading bowlers, Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel. Morkel sustained a strain to his left quad muscle while bowling for the Proteas in the opening match against India.
The good news for the Proteas is that Steyn started bowling in the nets and is likely to be available for Friday’s showdown with the West Indies at Cardiff Stadium.
Pakistan came on this game flying after beating Proteas in a warm-up last week. It would have spelt the end of the road for Proteas if they had lost but Gary Kirston’s boys made sure that they stay in the race.
Overall, the result showed that the Proteas have learned some very important lessons from the opening defeat against India. There was a huge improvement not just in the bowling but in the fielding as well and the engine is starting to run a lot smoother than was the case last week.