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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Muttee on November 26, 2013, 8:59 GMT

    Afridi is a bowler, that's how he got in the team in the first place but that one century screwed his life as all of pakistan has associated him with the bat. For the love of God, he is a pure bowler and a pinch hitter at best. don't expect him to bat, at all. do you expect Ifran to score runs in every match? or Ajmal or Junaid? then stop expecting it from Afridi either. He has been bowling excellently and doing his job well, let him stick to it.

  • johnstanley on November 25, 2013, 20:50 GMT

    PCB needs to start thinking beyond Punjab in selecting the team. It cannot be that only Punjabis are chosen or allowed to play for Pakistan. The divisions in the country are clearly showing up on the selection of the team. Once you solve that problem then you can be critical of which player performed or not. PCB or put it honestly Punjab Cricket Board (as it should be known) needs to fix the problem before it is too late!!! In short I want to see improvement in PCB performance before it expects it from the players!!!

  • dummy4fb on November 25, 2013, 15:41 GMT

    Please keep Maqsood in for more batting practice ,he is looking promosing. Afridi needs rest , he is lacking batting practice,every ball not need to be hit for 6 from the begining,use your head to analyze, team gets more under pressure with loss of one more wicket without contributing.

  • Romanticstud on November 25, 2013, 10:19 GMT

    South Africa ... need a Virat Kohli to chase with and well Pakistan all-round need a batting shake up to ensure that they do not collapse like they did yesterday ... The difference was the 8th wicket partnership that Pakistan had and Kallis and Duminy from South Africa ... otherwise is was an equal disaster on both sides ... The openers from Pakistan batted way too Slowly .... The South African batsmen were trying to hit the ball without watching it ... Smith was very unlucky ... the ball fell out of the keepers gloves to be stumped ... All in all a comedy of errors on both sides ... the winner really was neither team ... It was a good advertisement on how not to play cricket ... misfields, dropped catches, run-out opportunities missed ... batting around the ball ... trying to hit the ball without looking at the ball ... 218 is a pathetic score ... and 195 is worse ... let us see what the rest of the three match series brings us ...

  • on November 25, 2013, 9:40 GMT

    Well, I hope Albert_cambell will comment here more than other forums!lol

  • Taha_Farrukh on November 25, 2013, 7:30 GMT

    Congrats Pakistan really well played by young blood rally really happy to see new man performing for the Nation... best of luck

  • dummy4fb on November 25, 2013, 6:06 GMT

    Afridi was either unfit or posing to be unfit you can watch his fielding and his running behind the ball several time in this innings he was just filling up the gap not chasing the ball as if he wanted it to go to the boundary, the batting he is hopeless and donmt tell me that he is oinly a bowler he took the pride when he stroked well, and watch a silly tactics , what he was doing with a fast bowler , i8 remwember Anil kumbley saying is ko tau apni sharm hai na bowler ki, he was supposedly given chance to anwar ali who was then playing better and he should keep blocking the other end but what he did every one cant appreciate , only but a hard and mindless fan of BBA.He should have learned after 360 matchs but he is a? sorry

  • ABLcric on November 25, 2013, 5:50 GMT

    Well played Pakistan team and congrats to both debutant. Now, both newcomers will be studied and analyzed by opposing teams and they will find a solution and way to handle them. This is the trend of modern day cricket. This is the job of those highly paid coaches and analyzers. Just study the last couple of years and you will find lots of new players entrance is great and then they fizzle out. They do not grow further on their initial performance. It is the duty and responsibility of coach and team management to provide these young newcomers with arsenal to fight those strategies which will be developed against them. Modern day cricket is all about mind game. What I particularly noticed in both new players is the use of their mind and staying calm under stress. Very rare findings in first timers. Now is the time to help them groom and trimming their faulty edges. Good Luck Pakistan in the remaining matches.

  • dummy4fb on November 25, 2013, 5:49 GMT

    good hard work.come take this series......pak.

  • Ray24 on November 25, 2013, 4:05 GMT

    Well played Anwar and Bhatti! Along with Sohaib, we have three good players, hopefully success will not get to their heads like it does with most Pakistani players. All they need is be consistent and keep learning the game. Hope that Jamshed finds his touch before being sidelined. Good to see Shahzad doing decently. Umar Akmal is so over-rated. When will this guy play consistently is for anyone to figure. Afridi and Hafeez should play at 7 and 8, but they are good with the ball and hence should be persisted with.

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