Sports Magazine

4th ODI: Farhat, Misbah Star as Pakistan Level Series

By Azharnadeem

Misbah-ul-Haq scored 80 off 93 balls

Imran Farhat celebrated his return to the side with a majestic 93 and skipper Misbah-ul-Haq continued his dream run with a dauntless 80 as Pakistan defeated South Africa by three wickets in the fourth one-day international at Durban on Thursday to level the five-match series 2-2.

Farhat, playing his first match in nine months, and Misbah shared a 153-run fourth-wicket stand as Pakistan recovered from 3-33 to overhaul the target with eight balls to spare. The series will be now decided in the final game in Benoni on Sunday.

Pakistan suffered a setback in the second over when Mohammad Hafeez departed after being given out for obstructing the field. Hafeez changed his direction and was hit on the leg by a throw from gloveman skipper AB de Villiers, threw at the stumps non-strikers end when the Hafeez was far beyond from his ground.

He was the only fourth batsman to be given out for obstructing in the field ODIs.

Kamran Akmal’s nightmarish run with the bat continued as he was caught by Farhaan Behardien off Lonwabo Tsotsobe for 11.

The tourists had not yet recovered from the back-to-back blows when Rory Kleinveldt uprooted the stumps of Younis Khan (6) to leave the tourists wobbling.

Misbah and Farhat started rebuilding the innings steadily and kept the scoreboard ticking with the large rotation of strike.

Their first fifty partnership took 82 balls but after building the momentum, they struck smacking strokes all over the park.

Part-time leg-spinner Ingram, bowling his first over in international cricket, was treated belligerently by Misbah, as he plundered 17 runs in that over with the help of two sixes and a boundary.

The match-changing partnership between the Misbah and Farhat, which lasted 187 deliveries, ended with the dismissal of skipper, who holed out to deep midwicket with Pakistan still needing 49 runs. Misbah’s 93-ball knock was laced with seven boundaries and two sixes.

 The glorious vigil of Farhat, who hit eight boundaries and a six in his 144 ball stay, perished to Dale Steyn in the 48th over.

Shoaib Malik (19 not out) lashed a boundary off Tsotsobe to seal Pakistan win.

Earlier, Pakistan seamers made early inroads and spinner Saeed Ajmal scalped three crucial middle-order wickets as South Africa failed to manage a competitive total despite of the 115-run fourth-wicket stand between skipper De Villiers (75) and David Miller (67).

The hosts got off to a worst possible start as they were two down on the first two deliveries of the innings.

Seven-foot-lanky seamer Mohammad Irfan edged opener Hashim Amla behind the stumps before plunking the stumps of Ingram with a deadly in-swinging yorker.

Fellow left-armer Junaid Khan extended South African misery by claiming the wickets of Graeme Smith and Farhaan Behardien in quick-succession.

By the end of 10th over the hosts were reeling at 38-4. De Villiers and Miller snapped up the tumble of wickets and shared drove the hosts’ towards comfort zone with their sagacious batting display.

They hosts seemed on song towards a competitive total, but Ajmal once scalped both batsmen in quick-succession, the Proteas failed to build the momentum again.

Ajmal finished with 3-42 while Irfan and Junaid recorded the figures of 3-46 and 3-45 respectively.

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