T20 World Cup: Shadab Khan-inspired Pakistan beat South Africa to avoid elimination

ICC Men T20 World Cup Group 2, Sydney
Pakistan 185-9 (20 overs): Shadab 52 (22), Iftikhar 51 (35); Nordje 4-41
South Africa 108-9 (14 overs): Bavuma 36 (19); Chaheen 3-14
Pakistan won by 33 points (DLS)
Scorecard. the tables

Pakistan bolstered their slim hopes of progressing in the Men’s T20 World Cup with a brilliantly frantic win over South Africa at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Pakistan kicked off a 48-4 rebound at the post 185-9 then took regular wickets to deny South Africa in a rain-shortened chase to win by 33 runs on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method.

The result means Pakistan can still qualify for the semi-finals, but must beat Bangladesh on Sunday and hope South Africa fail to beat the Netherlands or India lose to Zimbabwe.

They are indebted to Shadab Khan and Iftikhar Ahmed, who combined for a wild partnership of 82 from 36 balls.

Shadab smashed 52 from 22 and Iftikhar 51 from 35 in an infectious display of punches, much to the delight of a boisterous crowd dominated by Pakistan.

Then, after Temba Bavuma and Aiden Markram put in 49 from 27 balls to give South Africa hope, Shadab retired both from three deliveries.

The rain came soon after, with the target reduced to 142 from 14 overs, with South Africa needing 73 from 30 balls from 69-4.

Heinrich Klaasen hinted at an unlikely Proteas win as they hit three fours in their first four after the restart but his dismissal, caught by Shaheen Afridi, gave Pakistan a clinical close.

Previously unbeaten South Africa would have been the first team to confirm a place in the semi-finals had they won, but they will still go through by beating the Netherlands on Sunday.

Pakistan could pass if they beat Bangladesh and South Africa-Netherlands are eliminated. The two teams would then be tied on six points, but Pakistan would go through three wins against two for the Proteas.

Shadab keeps Pakistan in the hunt

Pakistan’s struggles in this World Cup have been largely down to their batting, including when they failed to chase 131 in a one-point loss to Zimbabwe.

They seemed to be heading in the same direction again when Mohammad Rizwan played against Wayne Parnell in the first round and their other out-of-form talisman, captain Babar Azam, was well caught coming in from the middle of the wicket by Kagiso Rabada from the Lungi Ngidi bowling alley.

But from 48-4 after 6.3 overs, Shadab and Iftikhar launched a thrilling counterattack.

Shadab whipped three fours and four sixes, including clearing the ropes of successive deliveries from fast bowler Anrich Nortje, who took it 4-41 amid the mayhem.

Iftikhar swung Ngidi for a 106m six over the leg – the longest shot of the tournament.

Right-hander Shadab’s fifty was achieved in just 21 balls, making him Pakistan’s second fastest in T20.

South Africa did not help themselves. They dropped four catches in the manic second half of innings, during which 117 runs were scored.

This allowed Pakistan to reach a score well above what should have been possible, which is where the match was lost from Proteas’ point of view.

South Africa succumbs to Pakistan attack

The Pakistani bowlers again impressed.

An already difficult target was made more difficult when Quinton de Kock was caught for a five-ball duck in Shaheen’s first uprising attempt, who also had the dangerous Rilee Rossouw caught third in his next over.

The Bavuma-Markram stand was the only point where Pakistan were pushed back, with Bavuma crossing and swinging a towering six on a thin leg en route to 36 from 19 balls.

But Shadab caught captain Bavuma with his first ball and launched Markram for 20 with one that slipped.

After the rain Tristan Stubbs hit the second ball for six but the wickets they had already lost were still going to make the chase difficult.

Mohammad Wasim made a good catch to the leading edge of Klaasen, who won 3-14 on aggregate, and Stubbs pushed Naseem Shah’s slower bouncer to square leg deep.

South Africa finished 108-9 but have another chance to improve.

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