South Africa v Pakistan, 1st ODI, Cape Town November 24, 2013

The umpire's challenge, and a comedy of errors

Plays of the Day from the first ODI between South Africa and Pakistan, in Cape Town

The comedy of errors
With a run-drought leaving Pakistan's openers starved, they resorted to desperation to try and tick the scoreboard over. Ahmed Shehzad wanted a run as soon as he hit Morne Morkel to point but Nasir Jamshed did not react as quickly. By the time Jamshed started moving, Shehzad had given up and was headed back to his crease. Jamshed was almost at Shehzad's end and AB de Villiers had ample time to hit the non-striker's stumps but missed, allowing Jamshed to scramble back and leaving Morkel irritated by the wayward throw.

The miscommunication
South Africa had already dropped two chances and missed two run-outs, including the one mentioned above, when a fifth opportunity came their way. Sohaib Maqsood was recklessly trying to move things along when he skied one off Jacques Kallis. He was attempting a pull but the mis-hit went between Graeme Smith at short cover and Vernon Philander at mid-off. Smith would have had to run backwards and seemed to expect Philander to take the catch. Philander had to move forward but didn't seem to notice what was going on. Neither moved and the ball landed in between them to give Maqsood a lifeline.

The punishment
Jacques Kallis was having an enjoyable ODI comeback - he took a catch at slip and had taken two wickets - but then his day was spoilt a touch. He chose the wrong angle and then went a little too full to the tailenders, and Anwar Ali gave him the treatment. First, he flicked Kallis over fine leg, then he drove through extra cover but the shot of that passage of play was the second cover drive. Kallis bowled a half-volley and Anwar leaned into it, pushed hard and sent the ball scurrying across the outfield. That was a shot a top-order batsman would have been proud of.

The decision
When Umar Akmal issued an extended appeal for a stumping off Mohammad Hafeez's bowling, third umpire Bruce Oxenford would have known he was in for a tough one. The replays showed Smith taking a giant stride forward as he tried to play on the leg side and missing. As the ball travelled towards Akmal, Smith turned back, and as Akmal caught and released, he raised his foot. Akmal went on to hit the stumps with his gloves after the ball had trickled down, and the big question was whether the exact instant Smith raised his foot was the one in which Akmal had broken the stumps with ball in hand. Oxenford decided it was but it was a call many will be glad they did not have to make.

The maiden wicket
The match was poised perfectly at the halfway stage of South Africa's innings. They still needed half the number of runs - 110 - and had Kallis in hand. Four balls later, that changed. Anwar, who had already contributed more than his share with the bat, struck the decisive blow with the ball. Kallis went forward to drive, the ball kept low and bounced off the bottom of the bat and onto the stumps. Kallis could hardly believe what had happened and stood at the crease in disbelief while Anwar whooped wildly in joy, having claimed the big man as his first ODI wicket.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent