August 27, 2000

Proteas demolish Pakistan to clinch the Trophy

The grand final between the two teams commenced amidst a packed house. The spectators must have enjoyed every minute of the game, but the result was one sided. Though it was unusual for Pakistan to surrender, they did so today.

Bating first South Africa did not have a promising start losing 2 wickets for only 29 runs on the board. Gary Kirsten and Nicky Boje later succeeded in picking up the score and raising it to 70 in 15 overs, when the game was suspended on account of rain.

On resumption the match was reduced to 35 overs each, thus prompting the players to score fast. As a result 40 runs were added in 5 overs. The rate of scoring going up created lot of excitement for the spectators. South Africa lost 3 wickets for 126 with Gary Kirsten having scored a marvelous 62 and Nicky Boje hoisting 50 in 36 deliveries.

With full consideration of the reduced innings South Africa was trying to score the maximum runs. The batsmen at the crease were hitting all over the ground with a grand exhibition of slogging too. Pakistan's poor fielding enabled them to pile up runs. Having survived a lot of chances, the Proteas were 152 for 6, eventually ending up the innings at 197 for 7. Daryll Cullinan remained unbeaten with a valuable contribution of 31 runs. Kabir Khan and Abdur Razzaq claimed 2 wickets each.

Though the Proteas had scored 197 runs, the Umpires gave Pakistan a target of 215 runs in 35 overs to win. With a rain soaked pitch and wet atmosphere it was not an easy target.

Pakistan opened with Imran Nazir and Saleem Elahi and lost the 1st wicket at 7, when Imran Nazir was out. He was followed on his trail by Yousuf Youhana rendering Pakistan to 33 for 2. Saleem Elahi who showed some courage to stay was trapped LBW for a useful 26 bringing down Pakistan to 44 for 3.

All hopes now rested on the great pair of Saeed Anwar and Ijaz Ahmed but a good bowling - fielding combination of the Proteas did not let them flourish. Saeed Anwar was out after scoring a brilliant 24, while Abdur Razzaq and Azhar Mahmood followed him quick reducing Pakistan to a miserable 76 for 6.

With the mountain of a target ahead, the players had lost heart and the spirit to fight. Ijaz Ahmed was the only batsman capable of pulling the team out of crisis but it was not a one man's job. He was out after scoring a valuable 31 rendering Pakistan to 102 for 7. Rest was the matter of time. With no intentions to fight, the whole team was out for 121 runs in 28 overs.

South Africa thus defeated Pakistan by 93 runs to win the Trophy. For his excellent all round performance Nicky Boje was declared Man of the Match.

It was a very poor display of cricket by Pakistan. The players some how, did not have their heart in the game. Contrary to their previous performance they lacked the fighting spirit. South Africa certainly deserved to win. They gave a masterly performance to cause Pakistan's demolition in less than the lesser quota of overs. Well done Proteas.