South Africa v Pakistan, 4th ODI, Durban March 21, 2013

Farhat and Misbah help Pakistan make it 2-2


Pakistan 236 for 7 (Farhat 93, Misbah 80) beat South Africa 234 for 9 (De Villiers 75, Miller 67, Ajmal 3-42) by three wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Hold a mirror up to Pakistan's match-winning innings at Kingsmead and you will see South Africa's, minus one major crack. Both sides lost early wickets before being anchored by a sizeable partnership, and Misbah-ul-Haq and Imran Farhat's 153-run stand made the ultimate difference.

Misbah scored his second half-century in the series and Farhat celebrated his return to the side with a well-paced knock. Farhat fell with only nine runs to get and by then he had done enough to negate South Africa's attack. On the whole, they were too generous in the extras department and lacked the same bite Pakistan had shown in the Powerplays.

Pakistan got first use of a pitch South Africa were worried would be too dry; they ordered it to be juiced up on the eve of the match. But the surface could not be credited for the top-order collapse as much as the potency of Pakistan's opening bowlers. Mohammed Irfan stunned South Africa with the first two deliveries of the match. He had Hashim Amla caught behind and removed Colin Ingram with a yorker.

Graeme Smith joined the procession when Junaid Khan bowled him off a full toss bowling on leg stump. Junaid plucked the fourth when Farhaan Behardien inside-edged through to Kamran Akmal and South Africa were reeling at 38 for 4.

In that mess, lay an opportunity for David Miller to make an impact and he almost let it go, while he was dropped on 9. Pakistan paid for that mistake as Miller taunted them with some streaky shots. He edged to third man twice and survived an lbw review off Saeed Ajmal. But, he was strong on the sweep and reverse-paddle and brought up his third half-century off 63 balls. AB De Villiers had already reached his fifty by then. He only scored one boundary in the partnership, as he focussed on strike-rotation.

De Villiers, however, may have missed a trick by not taking the Powerplay while Miller was still there. He waited until it was mandatory by which time Miller was out, trapped in front by Ajmal. He reviewed it in vain and may have even cost his captain later on. De Villiers was caught behind sweeping Ajmal and he had no reviews left to question whether he had gloved the ball or not. The Powerplay, which also included the wicket of Ryan McLaren, yielded 17 runs and two wickets to put Pakistan firmly in control.

Robin Peterson helped South Africa go past the 230-mark but with the knowledge that scores above 250 are rare at the ground, Pakistan would have been confident. Their start to the chase would have hurt that. Mohammed Hafeez became the first batsman in international cricket to be dismissed obstructing the field under the new laws, and Kamran Akmal was caught magnificently by Miller. Hafeez was livid with his dismissal, but it was nothing more than application of the playing conditions. When returning for a second run, he altered the line of his path slightly to be struck, but it was enough to be ruled out. De Villiers fell prey to this law in a domestic match shortly after it was introduced and knew that an appeal would likely result in a wicket.

Farhat and Akmal showed some aggression but also flirted with danger. When Farhat spliced a ball back to Dale Steyn, he could have been caught in the follow-through but Steyn fell hard on his chest. Steyn bowled two more overs before leaving the field clutching his shoulder. Akmal didn't have the same luck. When he cut to point, Miller was waiting. The fortune pendulum went back Pakistan's way when Younis Khan was dropped by Smith at slip but that did not cost South Africa because played on in the same over.

At 33 for 3, Farhat and Misbah-ul-Haq had to do what de Villiers and Miller did for South Africa. They had to employ immense patience in the face of strangulation from Peterson, who could have had Farhat for 26, had de Villiers held on to a bottom edge. The pair was content to bide time. The stand was not risk free, however. Misbah scored the fifth and sixth boundaries of the innings in the 25th and 26th over, and they were both streaky - an inside edge and a top-edge.

With nerves rising, de Villiers took a gamble and brought on Ingram - who has not bowled in international cricket - for some part-time leg spin. Misbah smashed him for two sixes down the ground with a four sandwiched in between. The over cost 17 runs and was the most expensive of the innings but that was not the only reason it was notable. It brought the required-rate down to under six and took the pressure off Pakistan considerably.

Another boundary was not scored for three overs but the body language had changed. South Africa were desperate, Pakistan hopeful, and Misbah sensed a century. He played a selection of stylish strokes, a majority of them in his preferred straight area. He was the favourite of the two in-batsmen to register three-figures but top-edged Peterson to Behardien at midwicket.

When Shahid Afridi boomed briefly and then went bust, the path was clear for Farhat to finish the job. The shot that defined his innings was a six over Steyn's head when he cleared his front leg and swatted the ball over the boundary. That took him into the 90s and that was when the excitement got to him.

In his haste to bring up a milestone, Farhat tried to clear the in-field but was caught by Berhardien who chased it down from cover. By then, Pakistan needed runs in single-figures and even though Wahab Riaz was run out trying to get them, Ajmal and Shoaib Malik finished it off. The series will be decided on Sunday in Benoni where South Africa could find themselves without Steyn and Smith, who has an ankle problem.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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  • Cricket on March 24, 2013, 4:34 GMT

    - - Name - - - - - Age -Wickets - AVG.(FC) - - Wickets/Avg (Tests)

    Sadaf Hussain - - (23) -- 171 - 17.43

    Samiullah Khan-(30) -- 373 - 18.79

    Ehsan Adil - - - (19) -- 059 - 18.94

    Aizaz Cheema -(33) -- 327 - 20.79 -- Too old

    Rahat Ali - - - - (24) -- 152 - 21.01

    Junaid Khan - - (23) -- 246 - 21.86 - - - - - 29 - 28

    M.Rameez - - (23) -- 166 - 22.06

    Bilawal Bhatti - (21) -- 204 - 22.13

    Imran Khan -- (25) -- 205 - 22.54

    Asad Ali - - - -- (24) -- 355 - 22.87

    Nasrullah Khan (28) -- 188 - 23.02

    Yasir Arafat - - (30) -- 752 - 24.22

    Riaz Afridi - - - (28) -- 328 - 24.60

    M.Irfan - - - - (30) -- 131 - 26.23

    Anwar Ali - - -- (25) -- 260 - 27.46

    Wahab Riaz - - - (27) -- 320 - 28.19 - - - -- 17 - 34.11

    Umar Gul - - - - (29) -- 326 - 28.26 - - - - 162 - 34.06

    M.Talha - - (24) -- 239 - 28.39

    M.Sami - - (32) -- 479 - 29.28 - - - - 85 - 52.74

  • Dummy4 on March 23, 2013, 17:51 GMT

    I wonder how Misbah is winning man of matches in his old ages! In both successful chases he leaded from front. I don't know why Pakistan team has no left handed player in middle order. Pakistan team needs serious replacements for number of guys like Younus Khan, Shahid Afridi, Shoab Malik, Misbah. I think Hafeez should lead the side. Asad Shafiq replace Younus, Abdur Razzaq for Afridi (check stats if you think I am wrong), Ahmed Shahzad for Misbah. and a left handed batsmen/allrounder for Shoab Malik. Pakistan need left/right combination in middle order. THis can be done by lowering the positions of Farhat or Nasir I would suggest this combination and batting order 1. Shahzad 2. Farhat 3. Razzaq 4. Hafeez 5. Nasir 6. Shafiq 7. Gul 8. Ajmal 9. Riaz/ Spinner depending upon pitch 10. Junaid 11. Irfan

  • Zubair on March 23, 2013, 14:44 GMT

    To Adeel and others that are defending Riaz quoting his 45 off 52, c'mon guys that was too little too late. Besides pressurising the other bowlers and giving the SA batsmen a field day, having first conceded 93 just puts too much pressure on what is already a failing PAK batting line up. No point taking two wickets if you've gone for 93 as the damage is already done. Just ask yourself how someone of his speed and experience managed to break the record for the most ODI runs conceded by a Pak bowler?> through persistent lack of line, length, ball control, variation and thinking...not someone i'd include in tomo's game or any others. Also Junaid and Irfan look that good that I may be tempted to bring in an allrounder in place of Gul.

  • Prashan on March 23, 2013, 13:14 GMT

    This is a great chance for Pakistan to register an ODI series win in SA. If NZ did it, Pakistan can for sure. Misbah you are my favorite of all Pakistani cricketers. Good luck from a Lankan fan.

  • Waqas on March 23, 2013, 11:42 GMT

    I think we should scrap the debate on "suspicious" action of Ajmal. He has been cleared by the ICC. Writing about his "suspicious" action will be just waste of time. His bowling action is according to the laws of cricket. If someone has a problem then first ask for a change in law. Secondly, according to laws of cricket Muhammad Hafiz was run out. There is no doubt about that. SA had the right to appeal and Billy Bowden gave the right call according to the law. However in my opinion the law is flawed. How does anyone know that batsman was deliberately coming in the line of throw? In this case Muhammad Hafiz could not see where the ball was and therefore any wayward running of his cannot be attributed to deliberate blocking of stumps or the throw. Also, there is something called Sportsmanship. With such a lethal bowling attack SA should not worry about dismissing any Pakistani batsman. They can take out this Pakistani lineup two times in 50 overs!!!

  • Dummy4 on March 23, 2013, 11:27 GMT

    who are criticizing Farhat, they have to know that the job was not to bat fast and hard but to take Pakistan home, and who are criticizing Wahab they have to see the score card of the third match although he gave away 93 runs, but made the very important contribution with the bat by scoring 45 off 52 balls, with 5/4's and 1/6's, that means that he only gave 48 runs while bowling but taken two very important wickets of Amla & Du'Plesis, Pakistan lost the Hi-Scoring match by 34 runs, but that was due to the failure of our main batsman(s) Jamshed, Akmal, Younis, Malik,Misbah, but not for the reason that our bowlers gave away too many runs, the same had happened to SA's bowler but their Batsman(s) keep them alive.

  • Zubair on March 23, 2013, 8:55 GMT

    Shehzad, K. Akmal, Hafeez, Shafiq, Misbah, U. Akmal, Afridi, Gul, Ajmal, Junaid, Irfan. If batting first we need to rejig the order to prevent 2 tuk tuks from slowing up the run rate. Logic for exclusions: Farhat (got lucky to survive after being dropped a couple of times by SA for what would have been an unacceptable strike rate having batted through the powerplay) Malik(afridi-too fast and misbah-too slow make an average malik look like the saviour late on and if it wasn't for ajmal's first ball 4, malik would have been exposed) Y.Khan(out of form, out of attempts, will miss his fielding tho) Riaz (most runs conceded by pak odi bowler, unable to alter his gameplan when being taken for runs, has no brain, line or length consistenct basically) Also I think when you look at paks highest run getters in this series you should also consider their strike rates, as a low one would put pressure on their entire team.

  • Imran on March 23, 2013, 7:44 GMT

    ICC should consider applying some complusion to make slightly neautral conditions for test matches like odi. especially after what we r seeing in india against AUS and before in sa against Paksitan that there are too much support for home team srength. Pakistan has a huge issue of team selection. they are much better side than this. i was very disappointed with misbah and watmore that they were lacking plans for test series. Anyways good luck for decider.

  • Dummy4 on March 23, 2013, 7:43 GMT

    Now, it all depends upon how Pakistan plays the last deciding match.

  • Saad on March 23, 2013, 6:21 GMT

    @ dariuscorny, same sort of jerk can be observed in Steyn's bowling as well...he jerks his elbow at times to get extra swing with his wrist position...