Wills World Cup, Group B


At Karachi, February 29. South Africa won by five wickets. Toss: Pakistan.

South Africa's efficient performance earned their fourth straight win and ensured that they would head Group B. Pakistan gambled by dropping their third seamer to play six batsmen (but not Javed Miandad, who was said to have back problems). They entrusted the attack to two pace bowlers, two specialist spinners and slow left-armer Aamir Sohail as back-up. The gamble failed, while the South Africans' policy of sweeping the spinners paid off. Mushtaq Ahmed had a particularly bad day. Off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq emerged with most credit - his two wickets in successive overs briefly looked to have taken the wind out of the batsmen's sails. But a scoring-rate of seven an over during the first 15 had given South Africa such a substantial advantage that they could complete their task at a comparatively relaxed pace. As ever, their strategy was carefully planned: Cronje promoted McMillan in the order and held himself back to bolster the later stages. Earlier in the day, Aamir Sohail dominated Pakistan's innings with 111 from 139 balls. The pitch offered little to the South African bowlers - including Adams, appearing for the first time in the tournament - apart from the medium-paced Cronje, who claimed two wickets in his first over.

Man of the Match: W. J. Cronje.

© John Wisden & Co