South Africa v Pakistan, 4th ODI, Durban March 22, 2013

Batting fightbacks on 'slow pitch' please Misbah, de Villiers

ESPNcricinfo staff
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A lot of attention coming into the fourth South Africa-Pakistan ODI in Durban was centred around the pitch and subcontinental-like conditions the venue often proffers. While both captains agreed that the track was a bit slow, South Africa's AB de Villiers said the conditions weren't that "difficult" to deal with, rather it was losing set batsmen at the wrong time that cost his team.

"The main thing was to adapt quickly and to assess the pitch conditions, it just took us a while and cost us a few wickets," de Villiers said after the match. "After about three or four overs that I faced, I got used to the pace of the deck and realised that it wasn't turning much. It only started to turn more after about 30-35 overs, because of which the leading edges were there. There wasn't a lot of turn and it was quite slow; once we got used to that, we rotated the strike and picked up a few boundaries to get the momentum on our side again."

De Villiers was left to salvage the South African innings with David Miller, who replaced the injured Faf du Plessis, after the top order was carved up by Pakistan's new-ball pair. Mohammad Irfan and Junaid Khan had the hosts gasping at 38 for 4 in 10 overs, before a 115-run stand between de Villiers and Miller put them back on track. However, both batsmen were dismissed within four overs on either side of the 35-over mark, denying South Africa an ideal finish.

While that proved costly for his side, de Villiers pointed out that they were dismissed by the "best bowler in the world", in Saeed Ajmal, so it was not "the end of the world". "It was very important to bat till the end. But it's part of the game, you're not going to bat 50 overs every game as an individual.

"My gameplan was to get to 45 overs, which I didn't, and I'm sure Dave too wanted to bat longer," he said. "I thought both of us batted really well, did a massive job for the team to get back into the game and to get a decent total. At one stage we were staring at a low total but we fought back well. Unfortunately I got out at a really bad time. It cost us 20 runs which would have been handy during the end of the bowling session there."

Pakistan's innings took a similar course, with a clutch of wickets going down at the start, only for captain Misbah-ul-Haq to resurrect the chase in the company of Imran Farhat. Importantly for Pakistan, Farhat stayed till the 48th over, bringing them to the very brink. Misbah had good words for him: "The ball wasn't coming at an even pace, there was a little bit of extra bounce in the second half, some balls were stopping a little bit, it wasn't easy to bat on that, but I think at the end Imran batted well. They bowled well, but we showed a little bit of character and we managed to win this game."

It was a game Pakistan had to win to keep the series alive, and their chances of doing that took a blow early on as Mohammad Hafeez was out for a duck in the second over, becoming the first batsman in international cricket to be dismissed obstructing the field under the new laws. While Misbah accepted that the decision ultimately lay with the umpires, he said Hafeez's reaction suggested he did not wilfully change course while running to get in the way of de Villiers' throw.

"He was just running in line, trying to shorten the length," Misbah said. "He wasn't looking behind when AB threw the ball, so he was suggesting it wasn't intentional because he didn't know where the ball was thrown [from]. But in the end, it was the umpire's call."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY on | March 23, 2013, 12:40 GMT

    I think credit for victory goes to bowling coach.Time and again he prepared his bowlers for the SA strong batting line up.His fast bowlers have implemented the plan given to them. We should admire him that he shows our bowlers how to get Smith out.Smith was helpless and frustrated against our fast bowlers. If our fielders have not dropped important catches at a crucial time, Pakistan has won the series by now. We should plan how to get AB devilered and Amla out early. I suggest that we should use Hafiz early because he use new ball intelligently.We can give a chance to Asad Shafiq in place of Younus khan.Misbah should advised our fast bowlers to bowl aggressively. I hope in deciding match our top order must performed to archive victory.

  • POSTED BY on | March 23, 2013, 6:57 GMT

    Younis Khan needs to be dropped from all forms of cricket . He has not been contributing for over three years now. Bringin youger allayers who have been waiting for such align time.

  • POSTED BY spellbinder76 on | March 22, 2013, 20:22 GMT

    People just will not stop cricticizing - no matter what. Come on guys, Pakistan has won. Misbah and farhat played well, Afridi palyed a great knock in the last match. Just say congrats and move forward.

  • POSTED BY Wajih1728 on | March 22, 2013, 19:44 GMT

    i still blame Afridi for the last match lost and his unnecessary shot in the last match...has anybody realised that if Malik or Ajmal sent back to pavalion then Pak would b on the losing side....i still beleives that Afridi shud batted more sensibily bcz Allah has given him unique talent..... every1 (SA team, spectators, his teammates, crowd and his fans) EXCEPT him knew that he can take Pak thru...... but again rackless shot , he has still not learned frm his 300+ match experience..... no doubt he is a pure entertainer and a match winner...... if he would have played using his head he would be the most devastating player of the cricket world...BUT.. V LUV him , V LUV Pakistan.....

  • POSTED BY on | March 22, 2013, 16:33 GMT

    Although TEAM PAKISTAN won they made it hard for themselves by unfortunate dismissal of Hafeez, out of form Yunus (I cannot remember the last time he won a game for Pakistan) and the brainless batting of Afridi. I hope for the 5th ODI TEAM PAKISTAN will be bold and drop both Yunus and Afridi. Afridi only plays one good innings once a year and it is highly unlikely he would be of any value in the 5th ODI. His bowling has not produce any result and he remains wicket less in the series. With Afridi in the side most of the time TEAM PAKISTAN are playing with ten players and it is time other deserving players are given an opportunity. If TEAM PAKISTAN are to win the series my XI would be: 1. Farhat (you have to play him after he scored 93), 2. Hafeez, 3. Jamshed, 4. Umar, 5. Misbah, 6. Malik, 7. Kamran, 8. Gul, 9. Ajmal, 10. Junaid, 11. Irfan. I would not include Shafiq in the XI because I do not think he is an ODI player.

  • POSTED BY on | March 22, 2013, 15:28 GMT

    I still can't believe MISBAH'S statergy about pacing the team and get full use of his players. What else you expect if your bowlers has managed to restrict 38/4 at 10 overs. He must think to get more wickets after having great starts. SA sneak the 3rd odi victory just because of his non-aggressive captaincy.

    Why need Younis Khan at 4 if you have Malik, Azahr Ali, Asad Shafiq or Umar Akmal. World Class players all they need is consistency at their role. Why can't use Wahab Riaz as a pinch hitter at Number 3 for low totals. Still can use Afridi for the same reason or K Akmal as well. Misbah please realize that you have much talented squad to handle then you are your self.

    He gambled on Farhat and it paid off so I can see Jamshaid on bench for atleast 7 or 8 Farhat failures and that dice will roll untill world Cup 2015.

    A good game won by Pakistan but the ultimate Questions are still there and the answers are not looking to be achieved by Misbah in near future.

  • POSTED BY AlbertEinstein on | March 22, 2013, 14:48 GMT

    Just wondering if it was Kohli given out obstructing the field instead of Hafeez what would happen.

  • POSTED BY dharsanti on | March 22, 2013, 13:29 GMT

    Hafeez altered his path instinctively to avoid hit from ball. But applaud for him to accept empires decision graciously. good sportsmanship. Lets wait how playesrs jump, cry and scold if it happens to any indian or australian. I do not understand why afridi is bowling so many overs, while junaid and irfan still had some overs. He is expansive. Wahab should have bowled more. If there is left hander playing, hafeez should bowl ahead of ajmal.

  • POSTED BY ayab on | March 22, 2013, 13:12 GMT

    I keep hearing AB make encouring comments,but these are never backed by actions an example.They have learnt how to deal with all the bowlers in the Parkistan team,the next game they go & loose heavily.I hope he means what he is saying and not trying to distract the parkistan bowlers by intimidation.

    The law about obstructing the wicket can only hold it can be proved without any doubt that the player did just that,in this case it is dicy no clear evidence & therefore the batsmen must be given the benefit.If this empiring error is not going to be consisent against all playing nations,then I can only assume the empires will be given a run for their mony by the spectators & all support staff.

  • POSTED BY on | March 22, 2013, 10:20 GMT

    So it happened to Hafeez and he went off without loathing a ton of abuse like most of the cricketers do these days so it's just fine to lay all the blame on him and not point this pathetic new rule which could be interpreted in many ways. Wait till the same happens to some Indian / Aus/ SA cricketer in a crunch situation and I will see if that would be followed by a wrath from the players and the supporters or not.

  • POSTED BY on | March 23, 2013, 12:40 GMT

    I think credit for victory goes to bowling coach.Time and again he prepared his bowlers for the SA strong batting line up.His fast bowlers have implemented the plan given to them. We should admire him that he shows our bowlers how to get Smith out.Smith was helpless and frustrated against our fast bowlers. If our fielders have not dropped important catches at a crucial time, Pakistan has won the series by now. We should plan how to get AB devilered and Amla out early. I suggest that we should use Hafiz early because he use new ball intelligently.We can give a chance to Asad Shafiq in place of Younus khan.Misbah should advised our fast bowlers to bowl aggressively. I hope in deciding match our top order must performed to archive victory.

  • POSTED BY on | March 23, 2013, 6:57 GMT

    Younis Khan needs to be dropped from all forms of cricket . He has not been contributing for over three years now. Bringin youger allayers who have been waiting for such align time.

  • POSTED BY spellbinder76 on | March 22, 2013, 20:22 GMT

    People just will not stop cricticizing - no matter what. Come on guys, Pakistan has won. Misbah and farhat played well, Afridi palyed a great knock in the last match. Just say congrats and move forward.

  • POSTED BY Wajih1728 on | March 22, 2013, 19:44 GMT

    i still blame Afridi for the last match lost and his unnecessary shot in the last match...has anybody realised that if Malik or Ajmal sent back to pavalion then Pak would b on the losing side....i still beleives that Afridi shud batted more sensibily bcz Allah has given him unique talent..... every1 (SA team, spectators, his teammates, crowd and his fans) EXCEPT him knew that he can take Pak thru...... but again rackless shot , he has still not learned frm his 300+ match experience..... no doubt he is a pure entertainer and a match winner...... if he would have played using his head he would be the most devastating player of the cricket world...BUT.. V LUV him , V LUV Pakistan.....

  • POSTED BY on | March 22, 2013, 16:33 GMT

    Although TEAM PAKISTAN won they made it hard for themselves by unfortunate dismissal of Hafeez, out of form Yunus (I cannot remember the last time he won a game for Pakistan) and the brainless batting of Afridi. I hope for the 5th ODI TEAM PAKISTAN will be bold and drop both Yunus and Afridi. Afridi only plays one good innings once a year and it is highly unlikely he would be of any value in the 5th ODI. His bowling has not produce any result and he remains wicket less in the series. With Afridi in the side most of the time TEAM PAKISTAN are playing with ten players and it is time other deserving players are given an opportunity. If TEAM PAKISTAN are to win the series my XI would be: 1. Farhat (you have to play him after he scored 93), 2. Hafeez, 3. Jamshed, 4. Umar, 5. Misbah, 6. Malik, 7. Kamran, 8. Gul, 9. Ajmal, 10. Junaid, 11. Irfan. I would not include Shafiq in the XI because I do not think he is an ODI player.

  • POSTED BY on | March 22, 2013, 15:28 GMT

    I still can't believe MISBAH'S statergy about pacing the team and get full use of his players. What else you expect if your bowlers has managed to restrict 38/4 at 10 overs. He must think to get more wickets after having great starts. SA sneak the 3rd odi victory just because of his non-aggressive captaincy.

    Why need Younis Khan at 4 if you have Malik, Azahr Ali, Asad Shafiq or Umar Akmal. World Class players all they need is consistency at their role. Why can't use Wahab Riaz as a pinch hitter at Number 3 for low totals. Still can use Afridi for the same reason or K Akmal as well. Misbah please realize that you have much talented squad to handle then you are your self.

    He gambled on Farhat and it paid off so I can see Jamshaid on bench for atleast 7 or 8 Farhat failures and that dice will roll untill world Cup 2015.

    A good game won by Pakistan but the ultimate Questions are still there and the answers are not looking to be achieved by Misbah in near future.

  • POSTED BY AlbertEinstein on | March 22, 2013, 14:48 GMT

    Just wondering if it was Kohli given out obstructing the field instead of Hafeez what would happen.

  • POSTED BY dharsanti on | March 22, 2013, 13:29 GMT

    Hafeez altered his path instinctively to avoid hit from ball. But applaud for him to accept empires decision graciously. good sportsmanship. Lets wait how playesrs jump, cry and scold if it happens to any indian or australian. I do not understand why afridi is bowling so many overs, while junaid and irfan still had some overs. He is expansive. Wahab should have bowled more. If there is left hander playing, hafeez should bowl ahead of ajmal.

  • POSTED BY ayab on | March 22, 2013, 13:12 GMT

    I keep hearing AB make encouring comments,but these are never backed by actions an example.They have learnt how to deal with all the bowlers in the Parkistan team,the next game they go & loose heavily.I hope he means what he is saying and not trying to distract the parkistan bowlers by intimidation.

    The law about obstructing the wicket can only hold it can be proved without any doubt that the player did just that,in this case it is dicy no clear evidence & therefore the batsmen must be given the benefit.If this empiring error is not going to be consisent against all playing nations,then I can only assume the empires will be given a run for their mony by the spectators & all support staff.

  • POSTED BY on | March 22, 2013, 10:20 GMT

    So it happened to Hafeez and he went off without loathing a ton of abuse like most of the cricketers do these days so it's just fine to lay all the blame on him and not point this pathetic new rule which could be interpreted in many ways. Wait till the same happens to some Indian / Aus/ SA cricketer in a crunch situation and I will see if that would be followed by a wrath from the players and the supporters or not.

  • POSTED BY on | March 22, 2013, 9:55 GMT

    well may be hafez was looking or not, but according to the new rules he was out. and he should have known the rule.

    Yes there was 1 partnership from both sides, AB & miller played well but simply couldnt post big totals. Farhat drop off miller costed pakistan much.

    Though he made up for it by making 93. But he also had 2 half chances. It wasnt a pretty innings but some runs always good. And helped by the fact that RRR was low to start. in start difference between balls-runs was 65 and farhat used 51 more than what he scored.

    Good batting by misbah. but i would say that he got out at wrong time.

    Any way an exciting final coming up.

    i think pak should get in umar for younas

  • POSTED BY on | March 22, 2013, 9:33 GMT

    What I fail to understand is when a 100+ matches veteran takes two complete overs to get accustomed to the pitch behavior! I'm talking about Misbah, Younis. What good is your experience when you cannot even kick start your innings with singles, restricting the pressure. Yes Farhat played after many many months, he seemed to be out of touch. But having a strike rate of 30 in limited overs for an opener is embaressing. On the other hand, Misbah should learn to step to the field intending to bowl out the opposition within 40 overs, with the kind of bowling attack he has. Be Aggressive, rather be passive about playing the quota of 50 and then returning.

  • POSTED BY U.A.1985 on | March 22, 2013, 8:57 GMT

    Lot of people here are arguing that shortest distance is straight and blah blah but no one is realizing that this is what exactly what Misbah is saying too. Ofcourse Hafiz was not drawing a line on the paper to be sure what straight is. He was just running. Even athletes in olympics have lines made on ground to guide them about their straight ru. No one can run in a perfect straight line. And hafeez very slightly altered the path. Also he never was able to have a complete look at the ball. Sirry to say this rule is so controversial

  • POSTED BY Lloydster on | March 22, 2013, 8:41 GMT

    I think Pakistan paced themselves very well on a below par score. They appeared slow but were always in control so I big lesson for AB to learn. SA have been battling in the last couple games to bat out their 50 overs, which is a concern- with the batting talent we have and then fail to bowl Pakistan out or at least put them under some pressure. Even the high score game (3rd ODI) Pakistan came within a few runs of that huge total.This is in our own conditions- its a worry.Alan Donald need to get off his high horse and produce....

  • POSTED BY ABLcric on | March 22, 2013, 8:25 GMT

    Hafeez's running to the crease and curving towards the stumps line was instinctive to avoid run out. He knew very well that if he keeps running in straight line, he will be run out, even if the ball misses the stumps, there were fielders waiting to get the ball and run him out. His curving run towards the stumps to avoid the ball hitting the stumps was his last desperate natural attempt to avoid run out. I don't find anything wrong in this. His reaction after given out was acknowledging that his endeavor didn't work!!

  • POSTED BY on | March 22, 2013, 7:20 GMT

    I have been a critic of Umar Akmal since long but if we play him at 3, he may add more value than Younis. His issue is that he can't finish matches but if he bats at 3 then he can set up the matches well.

    Kamran and Shahid should be given the last game also and then a final decision taken on their future.

  • POSTED BY LourensGrobbelaar on | March 22, 2013, 6:24 GMT

    @ABKhanISB You are obviously correct about the time span making this a new rule, BUT just like an accountant learns the new tax laws every year to be proficient as accountant, so a professional sportsman learns new rules. It might have been instinct, but Hafeez knows this rule. If he didn't he would be an extremely UNPROFESSIONAL professional sportsman.

  • POSTED BY AliSyedain on | March 22, 2013, 5:47 GMT

    Pakistan has given up winning matches with their batting. Instead, they will look to bowl the opposition out on low scores. A more balanced strategy would normally work better, however, Pakistan does not have the resources for it. Historically, Pakistan have been aggressive bowlers and conservative batters. It's a style they seem to be reverting to with a vengeance now.

  • POSTED BY satishchandar on | March 22, 2013, 5:45 GMT

    I would blame it on Hafeez for sure. Misbah saying that he was trying to shorten the length is funny. Shortest distance between two points is straight line is what i read in Mths. Yes Hafeez didn't turn back and see.. But still, he certianly knew the ball is with keeper and the only way for keeper to throw the ball to stumps is that way.. With such a experience, he would have known it easily. And that was the reason he altered his path of run. May be, Misbah should have defended it by saying it happened in the middle in span of 5 seconds and things like these were not done on plan. Right decision was made eventually.

  • POSTED BY ABKhanISB on | March 22, 2013, 5:24 GMT

    @dmqi. Get your facts right before commenting. This is a new rule, all the 3 batsmen out before Hafiz were under old rules. So could you say everyone should now this rule???

  • POSTED BY PKStars on | March 22, 2013, 3:36 GMT

    Another decision against Pakistan by umpires like Billy Bowden and Steve Davis! If it was a better umpire, Hafeez was not out. Pakistan should report those wrong decisions through proper channels. In the recent past Younis Khan was LBW multiple times while played on his pads, then he goes out smiling. Khan should react strongly on the field. In the recent series Pakistan got out in their favor only after DRS reviews. And Billy Bowden and Steve Davis were culprits. If Pak captains are reporting properly about these decisions, these umpires will be removed from elite panels by ICC. Hopefully.

  • POSTED BY dmqi on | March 22, 2013, 3:22 GMT

    Please do not defend Hafiz on this. There are only 4 such cases so far and 3 are Pakistani. If at 31, after playing for more that 10 years, one does not know the rule that his his fault. Why he had to change course, math does not show it shorten the distance. He was the culprit, and got the right decision. Good umpiring. Misbah should not have defended a wrong doing.

  • POSTED BY dmqi on | March 22, 2013, 3:15 GMT

    I am not convinced as Farhat played too many risky shots and got lucky. Are you convinced with the batting of Younus, Kamran and Afridi ? You do not have any real depth in batting line up. Amla will play better in the next match so will Smith's replacement. You need 2 more batsmen, Asad and Umar in the next match. I know you will replace Younus with asad most likely, but not afridi.

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  • POSTED BY dmqi on | March 22, 2013, 3:15 GMT

    I am not convinced as Farhat played too many risky shots and got lucky. Are you convinced with the batting of Younus, Kamran and Afridi ? You do not have any real depth in batting line up. Amla will play better in the next match so will Smith's replacement. You need 2 more batsmen, Asad and Umar in the next match. I know you will replace Younus with asad most likely, but not afridi.

  • POSTED BY dmqi on | March 22, 2013, 3:22 GMT

    Please do not defend Hafiz on this. There are only 4 such cases so far and 3 are Pakistani. If at 31, after playing for more that 10 years, one does not know the rule that his his fault. Why he had to change course, math does not show it shorten the distance. He was the culprit, and got the right decision. Good umpiring. Misbah should not have defended a wrong doing.

  • POSTED BY PKStars on | March 22, 2013, 3:36 GMT

    Another decision against Pakistan by umpires like Billy Bowden and Steve Davis! If it was a better umpire, Hafeez was not out. Pakistan should report those wrong decisions through proper channels. In the recent past Younis Khan was LBW multiple times while played on his pads, then he goes out smiling. Khan should react strongly on the field. In the recent series Pakistan got out in their favor only after DRS reviews. And Billy Bowden and Steve Davis were culprits. If Pak captains are reporting properly about these decisions, these umpires will be removed from elite panels by ICC. Hopefully.

  • POSTED BY ABKhanISB on | March 22, 2013, 5:24 GMT

    @dmqi. Get your facts right before commenting. This is a new rule, all the 3 batsmen out before Hafiz were under old rules. So could you say everyone should now this rule???

  • POSTED BY satishchandar on | March 22, 2013, 5:45 GMT

    I would blame it on Hafeez for sure. Misbah saying that he was trying to shorten the length is funny. Shortest distance between two points is straight line is what i read in Mths. Yes Hafeez didn't turn back and see.. But still, he certianly knew the ball is with keeper and the only way for keeper to throw the ball to stumps is that way.. With such a experience, he would have known it easily. And that was the reason he altered his path of run. May be, Misbah should have defended it by saying it happened in the middle in span of 5 seconds and things like these were not done on plan. Right decision was made eventually.

  • POSTED BY AliSyedain on | March 22, 2013, 5:47 GMT

    Pakistan has given up winning matches with their batting. Instead, they will look to bowl the opposition out on low scores. A more balanced strategy would normally work better, however, Pakistan does not have the resources for it. Historically, Pakistan have been aggressive bowlers and conservative batters. It's a style they seem to be reverting to with a vengeance now.

  • POSTED BY LourensGrobbelaar on | March 22, 2013, 6:24 GMT

    @ABKhanISB You are obviously correct about the time span making this a new rule, BUT just like an accountant learns the new tax laws every year to be proficient as accountant, so a professional sportsman learns new rules. It might have been instinct, but Hafeez knows this rule. If he didn't he would be an extremely UNPROFESSIONAL professional sportsman.

  • POSTED BY on | March 22, 2013, 7:20 GMT

    I have been a critic of Umar Akmal since long but if we play him at 3, he may add more value than Younis. His issue is that he can't finish matches but if he bats at 3 then he can set up the matches well.

    Kamran and Shahid should be given the last game also and then a final decision taken on their future.

  • POSTED BY ABLcric on | March 22, 2013, 8:25 GMT

    Hafeez's running to the crease and curving towards the stumps line was instinctive to avoid run out. He knew very well that if he keeps running in straight line, he will be run out, even if the ball misses the stumps, there were fielders waiting to get the ball and run him out. His curving run towards the stumps to avoid the ball hitting the stumps was his last desperate natural attempt to avoid run out. I don't find anything wrong in this. His reaction after given out was acknowledging that his endeavor didn't work!!

  • POSTED BY Lloydster on | March 22, 2013, 8:41 GMT

    I think Pakistan paced themselves very well on a below par score. They appeared slow but were always in control so I big lesson for AB to learn. SA have been battling in the last couple games to bat out their 50 overs, which is a concern- with the batting talent we have and then fail to bowl Pakistan out or at least put them under some pressure. Even the high score game (3rd ODI) Pakistan came within a few runs of that huge total.This is in our own conditions- its a worry.Alan Donald need to get off his high horse and produce....