Chasing a 184-run target, can a team lose the match if they are on 165-4? Yes, if the chasers are Pakistan. Pakistan needed just 19 more runs to win against South Africa in the first ODI played at Sharjah Cricket Stadium. But that meagre score proved to be a Himalayan task for Pakistan, who succumbed to the Proteas bowling prowess on 182, just one run behind their opponents’ total.

[caption id="attachment_2438" align="alignright" width="230"]The 52-run partnership between Parnell and Tsotsobe in the ninth wicket proved decisive. (Photo: AFP) The 52-run partnership between Parnell and Tsotsobe in the ninth wicket proved decisive. (Photo: AFP)[/caption]

So where India chased 351 runs against Australia in Nagpur, their neighbours failed to chase 184 in Sharjah.

Two were the decisive reasons of Pakistan’s defeat: the 52-run partnership between Wayne Parnell and Lonwabo Tsotsobe, and Pakistani players losing wickets after batting powerplay.

The 71-run partnership between Mohammad Hafeez and Ahmed Shehzad, and later Misbahul Haq’s presence put Pakistan in good position. But Misbah’s dismissal in the first over of powerplay, and the loss back-to-back loss of Umar Amin, Umar Akmal, Sohail Tanvir, Shahid Afridi and Wahab Riaz stifled Pakistan’s chase. From 165-4 in the 41st over, Pakistan were all-out in the 47th over for 182.

Pakistan’s excessively prudent behaviour in the chase was the actual reason of the fiasco. The team managed to make just 135 runs in 35 overs, and then lost wickets in an attempt to inch up the strike rate when the last powerplay began. Pakistan came under pressure from Misbah’s departure in the powerplay’s first over. Then there was successive loss of wickets as soon as the powerplay ended.

Shehzad and Misbah remained top-scorers with 58 and 31 runs.

South Africa’s Parnell and Imran Tahir took three wickets apiece, whereas Morne Morkel and Tsotsobe took two each.

The Proteas’ innings was also a chaos. The match remained in the grip of Pakistan’s bowlers from the Colin Ingram’s dismissal in the first over to more than half of the innings. When Ryan McLaren lost his wicket in the 27th over, South Africa’s one end became completely vulnerable. The team were 86-6 by then. But Miller’s 37 and Parnell’s 56 guided the Proteas to 183 – a huge total for Pakistan as it turned out.

Saeed Ajmal came back to his form after quite a long time, taking four wickets off 30. Shahid Afridi, Sohail Tanvir and Mohammad Irfan took three, two and one wickets, respectively.

Parnell was given man-of-the-match award for his performance.

Pakistan’s decision to include Wahab Riaz for Junaid Khan and Sohail Tanvir for Asad Shafiq also proved wrong. Wahab failed both as a bowler and batsman. He succumbed to opponents’ bowling pressure when he was needed the most. Tanvir did better bowling, but he also failed to stick to the crease when wickets were falling.

South Africa are now leading 1-0 in the five-match series after the unbelievable victory. The second ODI will be played on Nov 1 in Dubai.
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