Shadab Khan helps Pakistan stay alive with win over South Africa

Shadab Khan hit 52 off 22 balls as Pakistan won their World Cup clash with South Africa.

Shadab Khan hit 52 off 22 balls as Pakistan won their World Cup clash with South Africa. Photo: AAP

Shadab Khan has kept Pakistan’s faint Twenty20 World Cup hopes alive after starring with bat and ball in his team’s rain-affected 33-run win over South Africa.

Needing a win to remain a chance of progressing, Shadab whacked 52 from 22 balls to help Pakistan take 117 from the final 10 overs and post 9-185 at the SCG on Thursday.

Then as South Africa began to edge ahead of the par score with rain falling at the SCG, the leg-spinner took two wickets in his first over to put Pakistan back in front with South Africa 4-69.

Players were soon forced from the field for close to an hour and, when play resumed, the wickets meant the Proteas’ equation went from 117 needed off 66 to an unlikely 73 off 30.

Shaheen Shah Afridi (3-14) also struck early after the break to halt any hopes South Africa had of a late charge before it finished at 9-108 after its 14 overs.

The win moves Pakistan to four points in group two, needing to beat Bangladesh on Sunday and have South Africa or India be upset by Netherlands or Zimbabwe respectively with a net run-rate swing.

For the Proteas, the equation is simple; if they beat Zimbabwe, they are through.

“As a team, if you are going to lose it is probably now,” South African captain Temba Bavuma said.

“Looking at our next game, it is must-win for us and the playoff games will be as well.

“I don’t think it is a concern … Maybe it is a performance we needed to bring us back down to earth.”

The result also means India is in the box seat to top group two and likely face England or Australia in next week’s semi-final.

But at stages before Shadab’s influence, it didn’t look like that would be the case.

Batting first, Pakistan slumped to 4-43 early when Anrich Nortje (4-41) took control, as Babar Azam’s miserable World Cup continued with just six up top.

For a long time considered the best Twenty20 bat in the world, Babar’s tournament now reads 14 runs from four innings at a strike-rate of 46.66.

Shadab then helped revive Pakistan’s innings with four big sixes, while Iftikhar Ahmed also hit 51 from 35 as the Proteas’ fielding grew sloppy.

Together, the pair put on an 82-run sixth-wicket stand from 35 balls, with Iftikhar producing the biggest hit of the night when he pulled Lungi Ngidi 106 metres into the Brewongle Stand.

Shadab’s work was only half done, as he removed Bavuma (36) caught behind and bowled Aiden Markram (20) in his first three balls to end their 49-run third-wicket stand and change the match before the rain.

“I didn’t think about the rain. I had simple plans and just bowled at the stumps,” Shadab said.

“In internationals, that was definitely my best innings.”


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