South Africa turn on Pakistan
Graeme Smith starred with the bat before Pakistan collapsed to the spin of Roelof van der Merwe and Johan Botha as South Africa eased to a 59-run victory in their World Twenty20 warm-up match at Trent Bridge.
The 2007 finalists appeared on course to challenge South Africa’s 186 for seven, on 62 for two in the ninth over - only to lose their next five wickets for 19 runs.
Once Smith, who had earlier top-scored with 70 off 53 balls, took the pace off the ball, his spinners put paid to Pakistan’s hopes.
Opener Ahmed Shahzad was lbw to van der Merwe, and the same bowler collected a sharp return catch to see off captain Younus Khan. The remainder of the Pakistan batsmen never threatened a significant contribution.
The match was therefore over as a contest long before Saeed Ajmal was last out, to a nonchalant running catch by Smith off Wayne Parnell, in a paltry total of 127 all out - with two balls unused.
Shahid Afridi’s bowling and fielding had earlier kept Pakistan in with a chance, as South Africa failed to make the most of a great start with the bat.
They looked set for a massive total, with captain Smith and Jacques Kallis sharing an 80-run opening stand in just 9.2 overs, but after off-spinner Ajmal had dismissed Kallis, South Africa gave way to the guile of Afridi’s leg-spin.
Afridi had Smith stumped as he advanced down the pitch, then induced Herschelle Gibbs to play on and ran out the dangerous AB de Villiers with a direct hit.
South Africa lost six wickets for 51 runs in five overs, and it took some telling late hitting from all-rounder Albie Morkel to ensure a competitive total.
That it eventually proved so far beyond Pakistan was more a product of batsmen’s frailties than outstanding expertise from South Africa’s bowlers.
Smith believes his team’s impressive start was down to the number of their players who have just featured in the recent Indian Premier League.
“I think it's a big bonus to have a lot of our guys have been playing in the IPL,” he said.
“It was nice to try a few things and we'll probably look at giving a few of the other guys an opportunity in our other warm-up match against Sri Lanka.”
Pakistan coach Intikhab Alam added: “It's very difficult to come from a hot climate and get used to different conditions.
"Fielding was one department I was concerned about but I am sure we will get better the longer we are here.”