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October 29, 2010
South Africa 207 for 2 (Kallis 66 retd hurt, de Villiers 51) beat Pakistan 203 (Hafeez 68, Younis 54, Tsotsobe 4-27) by eight wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
According to Ramiz Raja during commentary, Shahid Afridi asked Graeme Smith at the toss on Friday who Lonwabo Tsotsobe was. Having already suffered two top-order collapses at Tsotsobe's hands in the Twenty20 internationals, Afridi should have known him. He didn't, but Tsotsobe's four-wicket haul that set up an eight-wicket South African triumph in the first ODI should leave Afridi in no more doubt.
This time Tsotsobe shuffled things up, causing Pakistan's middle and lower order to implode quicker than a poorly-made soufflé. The key script was written in the middle overs, the dead air of ODIs. Having chosen to bat, Pakistan were cruising at 140 for 1, propped up by fifties from Mohammad Hafeez and Younis Khan. But they lost the meat of their batting between the 31st and 40th overs and, though credit should not be taken from Tsotsobe, the bowling was standard ODI fare - straight, honest and well mixed.
First, Hafeez did little to dispel the impression that he is more than just an ice sculpture in the desert: good to look at but not long-lasting. Having worked his way to a pretty 68, he cut a nothing ball from Johan Botha straight to point. Younis, who provided 54 further reasons why the PCB chairman should have resigned long ago, was leg-before and suddenly Botha's career haul against Pakistan was doubled.
The real implosion came with Tsotsobe's return. He complemented an opening spell in which his triumph was to not flag in the heat. Misbah-ul-Haq returned to ODIs after 13 months, only to remind many why he was dropped in the first place. A scratchy 25-ball 14 ended with him slogging Tsotsobe off his pads to deep square leg; Afridi went three balls later as Afridi does. When Abdul Razzaq and Fawad Alam fell, Pakistan had lost six wickets for 37 and the advantage, and Tsotsobe had taken three. In all they lost eight for 46, limping to 203.
Until then the sides had gone at each other with all the intent of a jar of valium. The intense heat and two burn-outs in the Twenty20s didn't help, so Pakistan returned to the ODI policy that served them well since the Miandad six of 1986: keep wickets in hand, explode late.
Younis and Hafeez's 114-run stand was substantial but mostly unremarkable. There were nice strokes, a punch through covers from Younis, a whippy cut from Hafeez, and enough single-pinching to keep the threat of a late burst alive. Neither pace nor spin tested them and they were polite enough to not take full advantage.
Tsotsobe was unlucky not to pick up Hafeez when he was on 5 and, 15 overs later, he reached 50 off 63 balls. It was surprisingly swift, given that he got off the mark in the seventh over. Soon Younis was celebrating an untroubled 38th ODI fifty with excessive demonstration - understandable after a frustrating nine-month absence.
All of it came to nought, however, and the chase was a doddle. South Africa got just the start from Hashim Amla and Graeme Smith. His bat looking ever more like a toothpick in his hands, Smith was even beginning to locate some of the authority that deserted him in a fifty-less year. But after crunching Shoaib Akhtar through cover, he was hit on the hand by a swift, short one and retired hurt subsequently. Amla looked unusually hurried, but littered the innings with enough quality shots to instill in it a good dollop of authority. Two stood out; a pull as conclusive as a slap in the face off Shoaib and then a cut so late off Afridi, he looked to have been beaten.
Tight spin from Afridi and Saeed Ajmal briefly kept sense of a contest, but there was never enough to defend. Amla was trapped in front but once AB de Villiers had pulled and driven Umar Gul after the drinks break, a comfortable groove had been found.
At that stage, Pakistan's best hope lay in the remaining batsmen falling over from heat exhaustion, as Kallis threatened to in the run-in to the first drinks interval. An extended break, however, restored him. Thereafter, he relocated his impenetrability and emulated de Villiers with an accomplished 66, but he succumbed to the conditions eventually. It was the first time two batsmen had retired hurt in the same innings to not return since 1990, a rarity that would not have amused either side.
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