Cricket World Cup 2015: Pakistan beat South Africa in thriller
|World Cup Pool B, Eden Park, Auckland:|
|Pakistan 222 (46.4): Misbah-ul-Haq 56; Steyn 3-30|
|South Africa 202 (33.3): De Villiers 77; Rahat Ali 3-40, Riaz 3-45, Irfan 3-52|
|Pakistan won by 29 runs (Duckworth/Lewis method)|
Pakistan's pace bowlers stunned South Africa to earn a thrilling 29-run World Cup win in Auckland.
Chasing 232 in Auckland, South Africa were well placed on 67-1, before Pakistan's left-arm trio got to work.
Wahab Riaz, Rahat Ali and Mohammad Irfan dismissed the Proteas for 202, despite captain AB de Villiers' 77.
Pakistan had earlier scraped to 222, with South Africa's target adjusted after rain reduced the match to 47 overs per side.
The victory, a third in succession, means Pakistan will definitely reach the quarter-finals if they beat Ireland in their final Pool B game on 15 March.
|Ex-New Zealand captain Jeremy Coney on BBC Test Match Special|
|"I didn't think it was possible for Pakistan to defend a total like that but they picked up wickets and from nine overs on they held sway. At no stage, other than AB de Villiers, did the South Africa batsmen look comfortable at all. Pakistan bowled with real purpose. Once again, South Africa didn't cope with the pressure."|
Even if they lose in Adelaide, Misbah-ul-Haq's side will have a chance of progressing on net run-rate depending on other results involving the Irish, who beat Zimbabwe in a thrilling game on Saturday, and West Indies.
For South Africa, a first opportunity to reach the last eight was missed, but their qualification will be assured with a win against the UAE on Thursday.
They arrived at Eden Park on the back of consecutive scores in excess of 400 but, like their earlier defeat by India, wilted when faced with the pressure of a run-chase.
De Villiers attempted a single-handed pursuit as the rest of his team failed to deal with the pace and bounce of the Pakistan attack.
|De Villiers sets records in defeat|
|The 31-year-old is now the leading run-scorer at the 2015 World Cup with 318 runs from five innings.|
|The South Africa captain reached 1,000 World Cup runs in 20 innings, equalling Sachin Tendulkar as the quickest to this mark.|
|De Villiers's fifth six of the match was his 32nd in World Cups, passing Ricky Ponting's 31 for the most in tournament history.|
The Proteas had earlier been cruising during a stand of 67 between Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis, but, when Du Plessis feathered Rahat behind, it began a collapse of four wickets for 10 runs.
Amla was brilliantly caught behind by Sarfraz Ahmed off Riaz, Rilee Rossouw hooked the same bowler to fine leg and David Miller was trapped in front by Rahat.
When Irfan returned to have JP Duminy caught hooking, De Villiers was left to play a virtually lone hand, pulling Riaz for two sixes in the same over.
He dished out similar treatment to Afridi and flayed the attack in the batting powerplay to make an unlikely victory appear possible.
But, he edged an attempted hook off Sohail Khan behind with 32 still required and, soon after, Riaz found the edge of last man Imran Tahir to give Sarfraz a record-equalling sixth catch.
The Proteas had succumbed to sort of pace and hostility that their own bowlers had earlier produced to restrict Pakistan to what seemed like a substandard total.
|Steyn stands out as death bowler|
|In his World Cup career Dale Steyn has taken 15 wickets bowling between overs 40 and 50 while conceding 81 runs in 21.1 overs at an average of 5.40 and economy rate of 3.82.|
Sarfraz, at the top of the order in place of Nasir Jamshed, took the fight to South Africa by heaving three leg-side sixes from one Duminy over.
However, when he was needlessly run out by Miller's good work in the outfield, South Africa chipped through the Pakistan batting.
Indeed, the Proteas may have restricted Pakistan further had De Villiers not had to bowl six overs of his medium pace to cover for the expensive Duminy, who was on his return from injury.
Still, when Pakistan lost their final five wickets for 10 runs after a second rain delay, that seemed academic.
Captain Misbah was the eighth man out, his defiant 56 a fourth half-century in five innings. His team appeared beaten, yet, in fact, they already had enough.