(Un)lucky number three
A first inside-edge may leave a batsmen feeling nervous. Like when Quinton de Kock tried to cut Mohammad Irfan and almost played the ball onto his own stumps. A second, even more so, but still de Kock survived, and also collected a four for good measure. By the time the third comes, the fielding side can consider themselves unlucky. After two French cuts, de Kock had a third, off Sohail Tanvir. All of them, miraculously, missed the stumps.
AB de Villiers was on 97 going into the last over but Wayne Parnell was facing the first ball. After his partner hit a boundary off the first ball, de Villiers was anxious to get on strike. When Parnell beat the point fielder with his next shot, de Villiers called him through for three runs. De Villiers had to race against the throw to make his ground, but had his skates on as he fell mid-stride. He dived in vain at the striker's end, with bat at full stretch to ensure he was well in his crease by the time Umar Akmal took the bails off. Having survived, de Villiers brought up three figures off the next ball.
De Villiers had already led the batting effort but he was ready to do his part in the field as well. When a Lonwabo Tsotsobe delivery leaped up to take the shoulder of Mohammad Hafeez's bat, the ball ballooned over second slip where de Villiers was stationed. He moved backwards, stuck his hand out and put in a jump to try and pluck the ball from the sky. For all his dedication, de Villiers could only get his fingers to it, but the ball spilled out when his arm struck the ground again, and Hafeez got away.
The unlikely cricket enthusiast
Dead rubbers between two teams who will meet again in a return tour (two Twenty20s followed by three ODIs) that starts later this month are not exactly the biggest crowd-pullers and the numbers in the stadium were evidence of that. But there was someone who was interested in the action. A caramel-coloured pigeon was on the field for large periods of the Pakistan innings, and had to be shooed off on numerous occasions. He hung around at the boundary rope and was distracting some of the fielders to the point where Ahmed Shehzad had to wave him away in energetic fashion. Later, one of the members of the academy was spotted cradling the pigeon as the match drew to a close.
Tired of tuk-tuking along, Misbah-ul-Haq played the shot of the match off just his seventh ball. Tsotsobe bowled it full, outside off, Misbah got underneath it, cleared the front foot, and lofted it over mid-off. The ball traveled high and far, crashing into the stand near the commentary box before bouncing back into the field. Even Misbah has an aggressive side.
Irfan is bounced
The game was meandering to a foregone conclusion when a bit of spicy fast bowling from Parnell made people sit up and take notice. Irfan, at 7 ft 1in, would be the last person you would expect to be bounced out, his lackluster skills with the bat notwithstanding. But Parnell tested the middle of the pitch and made the ball rise towards Irfan's head. The tail-ender fended it away as best he could, but the ball skied in the air and Hashim Amla back-pedalled from first slip to collect a safe catch. The wicket had no bearing on the eventual result, but was another example of the strange things that can happen on a cricket field.