Pakistan v South Africa 2007-08 / News

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Magic ball and curse of the Twenty20s

Faras Ghani in Karachi

October 4, 2007

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Abdur Rehman's dismissal of AB de Villiers was reminiscient of Shane Warne removing Herschelle Gibbs in the 1999 World Cup semi-final © Getty Images
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Magic ball
Abdur Rehman may have bowled many good deliveries in his career but probably none better than the one with which he dismissed AB de Villiers. Rehman came round the wicket and looped one that landed outside the leg stump. As de Villiers leant forward, hoping to play against the spin, the ball turned sharply and evaded his turning bat to peg back off stump. Unaware of what had happened, de Villiers lunged back towards the crease. As Rehman celebrated wildly, the dismissal brought to mind how Herschelle Gibbs was outdone by Shane Warne in the 1999 World Cup semi-final.

Curse of the Twenty20s
As Mohammad Hafeez strode out to open the innings, a mammoth target of 424 welcomed him on the new scoreboard. The words patience and concentration would have been drilled into him in the dressing room. But as Dale Steyn fired in a wide delivery in the second over, Hafeez played a loose shot - something between a drive and a cut - and only managed to drag it back on to his stumps. Hafeez may still be in Twenty20 mode, as a lot of Pakistan batsmen are, but it was still an awful dab of the bat and completed a disappointing match for the allrounder.

Seize of the day
Salman Butt, the other opener, had a point to prove in the match after failures in the recent past. He stuck around for 14 deliveries and was unlucky to be dismissed when an inside edge off his pad made its way to short leg. Hashim Amla, out of nowhere, yanked out his right hand and just about managed to slide his fingers under the ball before it touched the grass. The decision was referred to the third umpire and was upheld.

A change of gears and hands
With Paul Harris spinning the ball and troubling the batsmen, Graeme Smith decided to bring himself into the attack to add pressure. He bowled a good first over as Younis Khan only managed a flick to fine leg. In Smith's next, however, Younis targeted the third-man boundary. Down on one knee, Younis reverse-swept two consecutive over-pitched deliveries for fours and forced a change in the field. As Smith held back the line of the next delivery, Younis charged down for a mighty six over midwicket. Smith was not seen at the bowling crease again.

Faras Ghani is an editorial assistant on Cricinfo

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