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Probing spells from Tabraiz Shamsi (4-60) and Marco Jansen (3-43) prevented Pakistan from posting a daunting total in their World Cup fixture against South Africa in Chennai on Friday (October 27). Most of the Pakistan batters got starts – skipper Babar Azam and Saud Shakeel produced fifties – but none of them batted deep enough to make a significant impact on the innings. Shamsi and Jansen led South Africa’s quest of wickets and strikes at regular intervals meant that Pakistan, who got to 270, could never really break free except in one or two rare passages of play.

When Pakistan chose to bat, things did not go according to plan. In the first Powerplay, Jansen dismissed Abdullah Shafique and Imam-ul-Haq, Pakistan’s opening combination. There was something for both pacers and spinners, as the pitch was the same as that used in the Bangladesh vs. New Zealand encounter. After frequent use, it had slowed down a little, but decent runs could still be gotten.

Despite losing early wickets, Mohammad Rizwan and Babar helped Pakistan bat well. Both players maintained a consistent pace despite having very low run rates, with Rizwan surpassing run-a-ball in particular. However, Gerald Coetzee’s removal of the wicket-keeper batsman broke the crucial stand.

Babar confidently batted, observing his companions squander their initial opportunities. Iftikhar Ahmed had a rough time in the middle, but he fell apart right when it seemed like he was getting comfortable. Following the Pakistani captain’s death from an errant shot shortly after turning fifty, there was further unrest in that country. Shamsi bowled with aggression and gave up some runs, but he was a fair trade-off for wickets for both himself and South Africa. Kagiso Rabada was rotated out due to the circumstances, and Shamsi was brought in to replace him. Babar, the third-ranked player in Pakistan, was ready for more, so he dealt him a serious blow.

In the 50 overs allotted, Pakistan may be removed for 141/5, more than half of the overs, with ease. Shakeel and Shadab Khan salvaged the innings and increased pressure on South Africa’s bowlers with a counterattacking partnership of 84 runs. Keshav Maharaj’s job was made more difficult by both hitters, who used their experience against spin to nullify South Africa’s slow players.

Although Shamsi also made some sacrifices, it was ultimately up to him to force Shakeel to leave and dissolve the union. Once the two broke apart, Pakistan was well on their way to scoring in the region of 280–300, but the innings collapsed.

With 20 deliveries left, the South African bowlers bowled out Pakistan, making it easy to dismiss the bottom order. Even though their total is still decent considering that it is less than what they scored in the same match versus Afghanistan, Babar’s team would be disappointed that they did not bat out their entire allotted overs

Brief scores:

Pakistan 270 in 46.4 overs (Saud Shakeel 52, Babar Azam 50; Tabraiz Shamsi 4-60, Marco Jansen 3-43) vs South Africa

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