Cricket World Cup 2019: Haris Sohail and bowlers shine as Pakistan knock South Africa out

Nick Purewal 22:14 23/06/2019
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Shadab Khan (c) picked up three wickets.

South Africa’s hopes of reaching the World Cup semi-finals are over as their nightmare tournament continued with a 49-run defeat to Pakistan at Lord’s.

The returning Haris Sohail spanked a 59-ball 89 Pakistan posted a challenging 308-7. In the chase, disciplined Paistan bowling restricted the Proteas to just 259-9.

Leg-spinner Shadab Khan and Wahab Riaz took three wickets each while left-arm seamer Mohammad Amir continued his excellent form with 2-49.

The Proteas have failed to pass the group stages for just the second time and face two dead rubbers over the next two weeks.

South Africa failed to reach the knockout rounds as hosts in 2003, but still won three of their six encounters.

Head coach Ottis Gibson’s men have only beaten minnows Afghanistan at this tournament, and still have to face Sri Lanka and Australia.

Even three wins in nine matches would not gloss a woeful campaign, but given the Proteas’ dire form the chance of consolation victories appears remote.

Former England bowling coach Gibson’s contract expires after this tournament and is unlikely to be renewed. Faf Du Plessis may well relinquish the captaincy too.

Du Plessis hit 64 as South Africa managed just 259-9, failing to reach the 309 required for victory.

Haris Sohail’s 89, including a 71-run partnership with Imad Wasim from just 40 balls, ultimately proved the difference between the sides. Pakistan’s 308-7 proved more than sufficient, as Babar Azam posted 69 and openers Imam Ul Haq and Fakhar Zaman both notched 44.

Imran Tahir proved the pick of the Proteas’ bowlers, taking a smart two wickets for 41 runs. Lungi Ngidi ended on 3-64 but those figures were massaged by two soft dismissals at the death.

Markram’s removal of Mohammed Hafeez raised questions as to whether South Africa should have put more faith in spin sooner in this tournament.

If the Proteas’ injury-hit pace attack has proved problematic though, their batting has been little short of abject. Wahab Riaz plundered 3-46 and Mohammad Amir 2-49, with Wahab bending his back and beating the Proteas for pace.

Rarely has a South Africa side suffered for such a lack of top-order aggression, and that cost Du Plessis and company dearly once again.

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