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Hard takes and simple misses

Plays of the Day from third ODI between South Africa and Pakistan, in Centurion

Firdose Moonda
Firdose Moonda
Hashim Amla was run out for 41, South Africa v Pakistan, 3rd ODI, Centurion, November 30, 2013

Hashim Amla was run-out for the eighth time in his ODI career  •  AFP

The catch
In the absence of Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis, Hashim Amla has already shown himself to be a more than reliable slip fielder. He was at it again today, taking the routine chance Ahmed Shehzad offered and then topped it to send Umar Amin on his way. Ryan McLaren got one to rise on Amin and the thick edge seemed destined to fly over slip but Amla jumped at the right moment, with both feet, to take a well-judged catch.
The better catch
McLaren had a poor game on Wednesday but showed the progress he has made since being given a regular spot has not disappeared. Having leaked 71 runs in second ODI, he was superb in his opening spell today and produced lift that troubled Pakistan. And then he showed off his fielding skills too. The well-set Sohaib Maqsood was his second wicket when he attempted the pull shot too early - the ball popped up and McLaren dived to his right mid follow-through to pull off a stunner.
The best catch
After a good take from Amla, a better one from McLaren, South Africa saved their best for last. Vernon Philander got one to climb on Umar Akmal, who prodded tentatively, and the ball seemed certain to go between the wicketkeeper and slip but Quinton de Kock was not going to let the chance go begging. He flung himself to his right at full stretch, stuck his arm out, forced Amla out of the way and clung on.
The dropped catch
After taking the three tough chances that came their way, South Africa put down the easiest of the lot. Misbah-ul-Haq was on 43 when he flashed at Wayne Parnell and sent the ball straight to JP Duminy at backward point. It went directly to him at catchable height, all Duminy had to do was open his hands and accept and he did. Then, the ball popped out, as though it had been hit so hard that he could not hold on to it.
The introduction
Saeed Ajmal was unveiled as Titans' overseas signing for the domestic 20-overs competition yesterday. The franchise is based in Centurion so Ajmal would have wanted to use this match to show his new bosses they made the right decision and get used to feeling at home here. He did exactly that when he troubled Henry Davids, whose struggles against spin were exposed again, and eventually had him stumped. Everything about the dismissal was perfect - Davids had stumbled forward and played down the wrong line and it even took Ajmal to the top of with wicket-taker's list in ODIs this year. Only Davids, who was making his ODI debut, is the Titans captain and may not have enjoyed that too much.
The run-out
Amla has been run out more times than he has been dismissed lbw in limited-overs matches and it was evident why when he advanced a long way down the track after hitting to point. Amla soon realised the ball had gone straight to Umar Amin but by the time he turned back and approached his crease, the throw was in and Umar Akmal had enough time to break the stumps and Pakistan got the man they wanted.
The free (double) hit
Pakistan have gone 12 matches without conceding a no-ball, but then Sohail Tanvir overstepped. AB de Villiers, who had rampaged to 74 off 45 balls in the last match, was on strike and he got two hits on the ball but the result was only a couple. Tanvir's bouncer hit de Villiers flush on the helmet and lobbed up in the air. The follow-through of the batsman's hook shot provided the second contact as the ball ran off the back of the bat and off to third man.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent