Pakistan put their miserable hammering by arch-rivals India behind them with a shock 19-run win over South Africa at Edgbaston on Tuesday that kept their Champions Trophy semi-final hopes alive.
Just three days after suffering a humiliating 124-run defeat by title-holders India at Edgbaston in their opening group match, with former skipper Shahid Afridi among those slamming a “clueless” display, Pakistan’s return to the Birmingham ground saw them make a mockery of the rankings which had them bottom and South Africa top in this eight-team one-day international tournament.
Having conceded 319 for three against title-holders India, Pakistan restricted South Africa to 219 for eight after losing the toss.
After the spinners did the initial damage, paceman Hasan Ali took three for 24 in eight overs.
David Miller’s unbeaten 75 kept the Proteas in the game.
And when fast bowler Morne Morkel took two wickets in three balls, Pakistan were faltering at 41 for two under the Edgbaston floodlights.
But Babar Azam (31 not out) and Shoaib Malik (16 not out) took Pakistan to 119 for three off 27 overs when heavy rain stopped play at 7:41pm local time (1841 GMT).
That left them well ahead of their target score of 101 so that, when the umpires decided a resumption was impossible, Pakistan had beaten South Africa under the Duckworth/Lewis method for the second successive ICC 50-over tournament following a 29-run win at the 2015 World Cup.
It all left Group B wide open, with three teams on a win apiece after South Africa defeated Sri Lanka by 96 runs at the Oval last week.
Pakistan’s Mohammad Amir and Junaid Khan, in for the injured Wahab Riaz, took the new ball.
But it was spinners duo Imad Wasim and Mohammad Hafeez who did the early damage in an innings where South Africa captain AB de Villiers suffered the first golden duck of his 221-match ODI career.
Left-armer Imad struck second ball when Hasim Amla (16) was lbw.
Off-spinner Hafeez then had Quinton de Kock (33) lbw on the sweep.
The two spinners combined when de Villiers departed by slicing Imad to Hafeez at backward point — a wicket greeted by huge cheers from the large Pakistan contingent in a crowd of more than 18,000.
Hasan, as Imad had done, struck second ball when Faf du Plessis (26) played on.
He then took two wickets in two balls with a couple of brilliant deliveries to reduce South Africa to 118 for six in the 29th over.
Bowling from around the wicket, he took the outside edge of JP Duminy’s bat, with Babar holding a good diving slip catch — an example of Pakistan’s much-improved fielding.
The next, on a similar line, knocked over the off-stump of Duminy’s fellow left-hander Wayne Parnell.
Miller, however, received good support from Chris Morris (28) and Kagiso Rabada (26) in stands of 47 and 48 respectively.
Left-hander Miller drove Junaid for six to bring up the 200 and ended the innings by hitting Hasan for the lone four of a 104-ball knock that also included three sixes.
Pakistan’s collapse to 164 all out against India would have given South Africa hope, despite their below par total.
But Fakhar Zaman, making an ODI debut in place of the dropped Ahmed Shehzad, got Pakistan’s chase off to a brisk start.
The left-hander drove Rabada, the world’s top-ranked ODI bowler, for four but fell for 33 when, deceived by Morkel’s slower ball, he edged to Amla at slip.
Two balls later, Azhar Ali (nine) carelessly uppercut Morkel to Pakistan-born leg-spinner Imran Tahir at third man.
As light drizzle fell, Hafeez drove Tahir for six. But on 26 he failed to control a pull off Morkel and a sliding Tahir, now at long leg, took another good catch.
Morkel finished with impressive figures of three for 18 in seven overs but he could not deny Pakistan a remarkable victory.