South Africa v Pakistan, 3rd ODI, Johannesburg

SA stay cool to take series lead

Firdose Moonda at the Wanderers

March 17, 2013

Comments: 18 | Text size: A | A

As Shahid Afridi flayed the South African attack, memories of their last two, perhaps even three ODIs at the Wanderers came flooding back.

South Africa have not won at the Bullring since February 2008, losing to Australia, India and Sri Lanka in the process. The last two were close defeats in matches which underlined South Africa's problems with pressure. Against India, South Africa were bowled out for 189, chasing 191 and against Sri Lanka, they could not defend 312 despite having them eight down.

Every time Afridi breached the boundary, he provided another flashback to those fixtures. It was possible that, once again, South Africa would be beaten even though they should have been doing the beating.

What made this time different, according to AB de Villiers, is that South Africa did not panic. "I always felt we were in the game," he said. "Shahid Afridi played really well but I felt like we were in control I always felt our bowlers always had the skill to get him out."

He was not wrong because soon after Ryan McLaren's almost yorker-length low full toss had Afridi driving and playing on. Had McLaren not overstepped, Afridi would have been out for 73.

That ended up being just 15 runs short of what he eventually scored, but the shot Afridi followed that escape with would have sent alarm bells off in any captain's mind. De Villiers did his best to hit the snooze button after Afridi sent a ball over the Golf Course End stand.

"There was a bit of a breeze coming in and I when I looked at the shot I just didn't how he hit the ball that far," de Villiers admitted. "I forced myself to think, 'he is playing a great knock, there is no reason to get emotional, he is playing out of skin here. It's not as though we are bowling badly, but this guy is playing an amazing knock'. We've seen it all over the world, one guy can come in and take the game away, there is nothing you can do about that."

Eventually Lonwabo Tsotsobe managed to do something. Another full toss tempted Afridi but he holed out to long-off. South Africa still had to toil to remove the tail and a lack of yorkers made the job harder.

De Villiers explained it was not the plan to aim the toes, even though Allan Donald had earlier said it was. "That wasn't the plan. We wanted to go length and try and nick him off," he said of their plans to Afridi. "The rest of the time the bowlers hit their lengths well and bowled bouncers well, especially the slower ball bouncer."

That is exactly the delivery Donald said anyone could come up with and although change of pace got South Africa the first five wickets, they still needed something more potent at the end. For the three days between this match and the next one, that will be one of the things they will work on as they look to wrap up the series and string two consecutive wins together.

De Villiers believed the batsmen showed the right approach to becoming more consistent. In saying that, he was talking mostly about himself and Hashim Amla, who shared a world-record third wicket stand of 238. "In our body language, we showed that we are here to play," de Villiers said. "When we got a gut feel when a bowler is feeling a bit weak, we sensed it was time to take them on. That happened a few times."

While South Africa feel they have made a statement of intent, so do Pakistan. Despite defeat, they showed their ability and for Misbah, that was good enough. "Everybody believed that Pakistan can't play well while they are chasing, especially such a huge total. Today we showed that we can do that," he said. "It's all about the mind, you need to be positive."

Afridi also announced himself and both captains hope that is a sign of things to come in the remaining two matches. "He was also under tremendous pressure but we know he can be really dangerous at No. 7," Misbah said. "He has really good confidence and he will be good for us in the next matches."

De Villiers said it was "good to see Afridi back" but joked that he wouldn't like him to keep being back as the series heads into its decisive week.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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Posted by Pathiyal on (March 20, 2013, 12:58 GMT)

i thought Shahid came in very late. misbah, please promote him up the order for the team's sake. can we at least guarantee that you will give him No. 4 slot for the next 3 years or until the time he quits ODIs?

Posted by xylofon on (March 19, 2013, 16:17 GMT)

The only thing Pakistan have to do in regards to Nasir jamshed is to play him as nr 3. That is all.

Posted by likeintcricket on (March 19, 2013, 14:44 GMT)

Pakistan is struggling with right team combination. Having four spinners in the side is pointless on these wickets against Amla and AB. Also Younis and Shoaib are both In and Out everytime they play and they ae very inconsistant therefore Umer Akmal and Asad Shafiq are better choice. I wonder why they didn't consider Ahmad Shazad when he was In form and scored some good runs. I believe can beat SA in all formats if their play the right combination. Pakistan got unlucky as they missed two Amla chances as these two players are the best batsman against spin.

Posted by Lloydster on (March 19, 2013, 10:50 GMT)

I agree with@dariouscorny that SA's bowling attack in this ODi series is still very much an experimental side ,despite Kirsten saying its not, as the poor bowling from the overweight Rory K , expensive Lopsie and Peterson cannot be in the mix for the upcoming Champions Trophy - if they are then we will go home early again. They are back up bowlers, if that, hence the ease at which Pakistan hunted down the big score.We have seen this time and time again that one good over is undone by poor back up bowling. Get the youngsters in now before its too late Donald or are we still plagued by the quota system.

Posted by dariuscorny on (March 18, 2013, 19:39 GMT)

this match showed that other than Steyn SA has no potent bowler in their armoury,Rory seems a trundler with no swing and variations,the less said about others ,the better,they were bowling half volleys and lollies to Afridi who just kept on smoking them for sixes,had he stayed their for 2-3 overs more,he wud hv won that match for Pak in that huge chase.....thanks to the killer innings from AB and Amla who just gave the cushion to their bowlers

Posted by   on (March 18, 2013, 15:04 GMT)

It should be much different if u give a chance to Ahmad Shahzad as a opener with Kamran akmal where they always love to hit on Rise Balls rather than Hafeez coz Africa Seamers love to bowl Short Balls rather than on fuller length that what we had already seen in the previous games , apart from that P>C>B had to think about Younis Khan to have some rest for the forthcoming series . Afridi brialliant knock but the team managment had to think the Bowler like Tsotsobe will be always Butchered by Afridi any time and anywhere b.coz of his traditional length bowled to afrid .He is not like Irfan pathan which can swing the ball at that particular length.... I really like to c Ahmad Shamad rather than Jamshed.

Posted by   on (March 18, 2013, 9:16 GMT)

Asad for Shoaib malik and umar for kamran ...

Posted by KarachiKid on (March 18, 2013, 8:30 GMT)

@khurrmam S Chaudhry. Fully agreed about too much being said about no-ball dismissal of Afridi. Amla was dropped twice by generous Pakistanis. Similarly, on a different note, too much fuss was made out of Kallis dismissal by everyone, including commentators. Similar fuss was never made by NUMBER of wrong dismissals throughout SA summer that went totally against Pakistan.

Posted by Ray24 on (March 18, 2013, 4:27 GMT)

Drop Yunus and bring Asad - Asad is at the starting point of his career and in very good form. You don't play him now, he will loose confidence and that's what cricket is about. Yunus can't do anythign Asad cannot, so Mr. Khan, please quit ODI and make way for a younger and more talented ODI player. Shoiaib Malik should also be shown the door and Umar Akmal should be drafted in - Umar should also be asked to keep wickets so another batsman can be slotted in, someone like Ahmed Shahzad. When Misbah retires, draft in another good player like Hamad Azam. But that should be Misbah's call really as he has done wonders with this team - one of Pakistan's great captains. But really, Yunus, Kamran and Shoaib need to leave the team. Rest of the players are good amongst the available lot. And please, NO IMRAN FARHAT.

Posted by zikriaadil on (March 18, 2013, 4:24 GMT)

One good inning in 50, with this performance he secure seat in the team for another 50 matches. Disgustin............

Posted by applethief on (March 18, 2013, 0:32 GMT)

Real shame that Afridi again came under pressure so far down the order. He could've left the ball he got out and it would have been called a wide, it was a terrible delivery by Lopsy, but given the match situation, Afridi felt he had to chase every delivery. If you do that, sooner or later you'll get one with your name on it. So many of us are tired of saying it: if Afridi's in your team, he needs to be batting higher up the order. Aside from this, his last real decent knock with the bat was his 80 in the FLT20 semi final for Hampshire in 2011. Guess which position he batted there.

Posted by Shongololo on (March 17, 2013, 23:04 GMT)

Afridi's a flash in the pan - comes off once in a while (and spectacular when he does) but has far too many failures in between. The stats don't lie. Well done, SA, great partnership by Hash and AB, time to drop Smith, introduce de Kock. Oh, but then Gary said, in his wisdom (not) that this is the squad he's settled on, the one he'll take to the Champions trophy. Poor logic, Gazza.

Posted by SyedAreYouDumb on (March 17, 2013, 22:28 GMT)

Amla always gets dropped but he always ends up scoring BIG. His strong faith helps him. Anyway I loved how Afridi played, i thought when he was out off a no ball but survived he would score a century but tsotsobe gave him a high full toss and he was out. Afridi loves destroying SA lol..!

Posted by   on (March 17, 2013, 22:04 GMT)

One of the most Exciting game we all spectator watch.

Posted by   on (March 17, 2013, 19:16 GMT)

good game of cricket. Well played by SA.

Paksitan could have a chance but too many soft and unnecessary shots for dismissals. Jamshed Kamran, younas, malik & misbah unnecssary. not much support for Afridi. misbah didnt need to attack when afridi hitting them big. same goes with others.

Afridi played a hell of an inings but may be too much carried away. with RRR in control should have played more sensibly but good effort though. may be it was too much to ask from him.

wahab scored some runs but his his main job was bowling and he gave away 93 there.

Won toss and bowlers didnt backed that decision of misbah. Wahab was rubbish, hafeez, afridi all were expensive.

Poor fielding as well. Amla drop costed pakistan loads .was dropped @ 34 added 88 more. you simply cant give chances to such a brilliant player.

Ab played a brilliant knock here. his was more good than amla

Posted by SurlyCynic on (March 17, 2013, 19:15 GMT)

Really enjoyed watching Afridi today. He did get Pakistan back into the game, but in some ways I agree with what AB is saying. Afridi goes so hard at every single ball that you always feel there's a chance he'll get out. Quite a few miscued shots landed between fielders.

When you look back at other great ODI innings, like Ponting in the World Cup, Lara, Hussey, etc - the difference is they never looked like getting out.

I'm not criticising Afridi, he was great today. I just think that with the way he plays there needs to be another Pakistan batsman playing an 'Amla' innings at the other end to chase down such a big total.

Posted by   on (March 17, 2013, 19:15 GMT)

i dont see a point of mentioning many lines for like he would have been out for 73 when bowled on a no ball. i havent seen these type of lines for when Amla got dropped? the fact is no one remembered those things who dropped who. its always the end result and final score. many have termed Amlas innings great so no body remembered that he has got 1 full and 1 half chance.

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