ICC Champions Trophy 2017
Pakistan win leaves Group B wide open
Hasan leads rejuvenated Pakistan effort to down South Africa in another rain-hit clash
8 June 2017, 07:59 AM AEST
Under-fire Pakistan have produced a vastly improved display from their Champions Trophy opener to defeat South Africa by the Duckworth-Lewis method and breathe life into their campaign.
After being asked to bowl first, a rejuvenated Pakistani attack restricted the Proteas to 8-219 and their batsmen then reached 3-119 from 27 overs before rain ended the contest abruptly, the underdogs adjudged 19-run winners as the rain fell heavily upon the Edgbaston surface.
Hasan Ali was outstanding with three wickets – including perhaps the ball of the tournament to remove Wayne Parnell for a golden duck – as Sarfraz Ahmed's bowling group put together a clinical performance to go some way to restoring their country's pride after last Sunday's humiliating thrashing at the hands of neighbours India.
Parnell wasn't the only South African to suffer the indignity of a first-baller; captain AB de Villiers befell the same fate for the first time in his ODI career, chopping Mohammad Hafeez to point as the Proteas lost quick wickets at the top of the order.
David Miller played intelligently to make 75no from 104 deliveries and give his side a fighting chance, the batsman receiving commendable support from allrounder Chris Morris (28) and paceman Kagiso Rabada (26).
Imad Wasim (2-20) took two wickets and Mohammad Amir (0-50) bowled superbly without luck as Pakistan's quicks found some movement in the Birmingham air, causing problems aplenty for South Africa's batsmen.
In reply, Pakistan got off to a flying start thanks to debutant Fakhar Zaman (31 from 23), but the introduction of Morne Morkel (3-18) was telling, bringing the Proteas right back into the contest.
Babar Azam (31no) and Mohammad Hafeez (26) combined for a crucial stand and a quick-fire 16no from Shoaib Malik then ensure Pakistan were ahead when the heavens opened.
South Africa square off with India in their final group match, while Pakistan next face Sri Lanka, and all four sides will be desperate for a win in order to progress to the final four.
As flagged by captain Sarfraz ahead of the match, the Pakistan camp has dropped experienced opener Ahmed Shehzad for uncapped batsman Fakhar Zaman, while injured fast bowler Wahab Riaz has been replaced by fellow left-armer Junaid Khan.
Wahab has been ruled out of the remainder of the Champions Trophy tournament with an ankle injury and was replaced in the squad by Rumman Raees.
A "heart-broken" Wahab took to social media today to apologise to fans after he exited the event with the worst bowling return in the tournament's history.
My performance has let down my nation n team, Im sorry sp to PCT fans. I tried my best but it was not good enough n I'm heart broken as well— Wahab Riaz (@WahabViki) June 7, 2017
Champions Trophy 2017 Guide
Squads: Every Champions Trophy nation
2 June – New Zealand v Australia, No Result
4 June – India beat Pakistan by 124 runs
5 June – Australia v Bangladesh, No Result
6 June – England beat New Zealand by 87 runs
8 June – India v Sri Lanka, The Oval (D)
9 June – New Zealand v Bangladesh, Cardiff (D)
10 June – England v Australia, Edgbaston (D)
11 June – India v South Africa, The Oval (D)
12 June – Sri Lanka v Pakistan, Cardiff (D)
14 June – First semi-final (A1 v B2), Cardiff (D)
15 June – Second semi-final (A2 v B1), Edgbaston (D)
18 June – Final, The Oval (D)
19 June – Reserve day (D)