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

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

ESPNcricinfo staff

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."

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  • Dummy4 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.

  • Dummy4 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.

  • aziz 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.

  • syed 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.....

  • Dummy4 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.

  • Dummy4 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.

  • Issac on March 22, 2013, 14:48 GMT

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

  • santi 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.

  • logan 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.

  • Dummy4 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.

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