Gros Islet (St.Lucia): Defending champions Pakistan kept alive their hopes for a semi-final berth and knocked out South Africa of the World Twenty20, beating them by 11 runs in their last Group E match of the Super Eights here Monday.
Spinner Saeed Ajmal’s four for 26 and Man of the Match Umar Akmal’s 51 kept Pakistan in the hunt and now they have to hope that England, who are now already through, beat New Zealand in the next match of the day at the Beausejour Stadium.
Umar and Shahid Afridi, who smashed an 18-ball 30, set up Pakistan’s total of 148 for seven after a slow start. Opener Kamran Akmal also struck a valuable 37 after skipper Afridi opted to bat.
South African batsmen then found Ajmal’s ‘doosras’ tough to handle and could make only 137 for seven with A.B. de Villiers scoring 53.
The Proteas lived up to their tag of chokers once again and lost four wickets for just 68 runs on a track that kept low and slow.
Opener Herschelle Gibbs (3) was sent packing by a stunning catch above his head by Misbah-ul-Haq on the edge of the circle at mid-wicket, before the out-of-form captain Graeme Smith (13) spooned a simple catch to Afridi at mid-on.
Kallis (22) and De Villiers then rebuilt the Proteas’ innings, but failed to get the hits, leaving South Africa to get 100 from the last 10 overs.
Umar took an excellent catch diving forward on the run in from long-on to dismiss Kallis, while Latif held on at deep midwicket as Jean Paul Duminy tried to hit out.
De Villiers smashed 20 off one over from Abdur Rehman, but when he departed top-edging an attempted outrageous flick over the keeper’s head off Ajmal, the Proteas challenge was all but over.
Earlier in the day, Kamran played a responsible innings of 37 from 33 balls and helped Pakistan recover from a precarious 69 for four.
Umar and Afridi added 61 runs for the fifth wicket to give the bowlers a target of defend. Umar hit four sixes and two fours while Afridi smacked four fours and a six in his 18-ball innings.