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Player of the Match
Player of the Match

Pakistan defeat South Africa in a thrilling encounter

The 2nd vital encounter of the Singapore Challenge between Pakistan and South Africa commenced with Pakistan batting first and piling up a moderate total of 227 for 9.

They got a good opening stand of 57 runs when Shahid Afridi was out in his usual style of offering a flying catch after scoring 25 useful runs. Though the run rate was good, the wickets were constantly falling, with 87 runs on the board 4 batsmen were back to the pavilion.

In 25 overs, Pakistan was 110 for 4. Ijaz Ahmed and Abdur Razzaq, however, brought much needed stability to the Pakistan's innings, raising the score to 185 when Ijaz was out after playing a splendid knock of 56. His partner in building up the Pakistan's innings Abdur Razzaq also departed after scoring highly valuable 47 runs. Pakistan was now 200 for 6. The remaining batsmen having contributed only 27 runs, Pakistan's innings ended at 227 for 9.

It was generally thought that Pakistan was short of 20-30 runs for a victory but it was not so, because in the end Pakistan defeated South Africa by 28 runs.

Facing an apparently moderate target of 228 runs, South Africa started the innings with immense confidence, scoring 53 for no loss in the first 10 overs. The openers Gary Kirsten and Andrew Hall gave their team a solid start of 61 runs when Hall was out after scoring a useful 26. South Africa was 97 for 3 when Gary Kirsten was run out after playing an enterprising innings of 54. Lance Klusener and Daryll Cullinan following cheaply, South Africa came down to 129 for 5.

It was a game of fluctuating fortunes with hopes and aspirations shifting from one side to the other with every fall of a wicket or addition to the score.

Neil McKenzie was already at the crease when wicket-keeper Pothas joined him. Both of them proved better than the best batsmen. From a match evenly poised, they elevated it in favour of their team by resorting to a fast run spree. Scoring runs on every ball they were chasing the target valiantly. It was a tough battle between bat and the ball with the South African batsmen dominating the game. At 190 in 45 overs and 5 wickets in hand the Proteas enjoyed a definite advantage.

The situation changed all of sudden when Pothas was out after scoring highly valuable 24 runs. There was no looking back for the Pakistani bowlers now. They mounted so much of pressure on the Proteas that the whole team crumbled for 199 runs.

The atmosphere was shrouded in suspense during the last 5 overs of the game. The spectators were anxiously waiting for the inevitable which, came when McKenzie was clean bowled by Abdur Razzaq for a marvelous 41.

Pakistan defeated South Africa by 28 runs to sail into the finals of Singapore Challenge. Razzaq and Azhar Mahmood shared 3 wickets each while Razzaq was declared Man of the Match for his excellent all round performance.