Kimberley— Pakistan held their nerve against a South African Invitational XI to win by one wicket in the final over in Kimberley.
After choosing to bat, the hosts began well, with captain Stephen Cook and his opening partner Quinton de Kock adding 55 at better than a run a ball. De Kock went on to make a half-century and it seemed, at 170 for 3 in the 32nd over, that the South African side would be able to reach 300. In a final score of 266, de Kock was ultimately the only half-centurion; Temba Bavuma was next to him with 43, and Pakistan were able to give themselves a good shot at a successful chase.
Their openers delivered a strong start, Imran Farhat and Nasir Jamshed adding 53 in 9.4 overs. Kamran Akmal then made 47, adding 49 with Misbah-ul-Haq for the fourth wicket after Younis Khan had been dismissed for a duck. At 139 for 3 in the 26th over, Pakistan were on track, but they slipped to 189 for 7; two of those four wickets were claimed by legspinner Imran Tahir.
But Pakistan’s lower order showed a lot of mettle, and Abdur Rehman and Umar Gul built a stand that revived hopes of victory. Rehman batted patiently to make an unbeaten 35, while Gul at the other end was more attacking, scoring 30 off 34, with four fours and a six. Pakistan were still in trouble when Gul fell with the score on 234, and the hosts were on the brink when they claimed the wicket of Wahab Riaz in the 46th over to make it 242 for 9. But Junaid Khan was reliable company for Rehman, and though the required-rate had touched almost six with just a wicket in hand, the pair guided Pakistan home.
In the final over bowled by Lizaad Williams, victory was sealed off the fourth delivery.—Sports Desk