Tuesday , June 15 2021

Proteas with daunting target – The Citizen

The Proteas and huge targets are not familiar with each other at SuperSport Park in Centurion.

In recent times, they've had to overhaul 319 and 295 and did so successfully.

They will have to pull out all the stops again after they conceded 317/6 in the third ODI against Pakistan on Friday.

However, the really disturbing thing about South Africa's display in the field is that the visitors' total event could have been significantly lower had they taken their catches.

Faf du Plessis and his troops dropped an unacceptable five, which, to add insult to injury, all proved costly – 201 runs to be exact.

Following a bright and disciplined start with the ball, culminating in an early wicket on debut for left-armer Beuran Hendricks (1/50), the rot started in the eighth over.

Mistiming and pull, Babar Azam was dropped by Andile Phehlukwayo, who showed a hard pair of hands.

On 11 then, the elegant right-hander stroked his way to a fine 69.

Pakistan's batting mainstay, Imam-ha-Haq, was next as his drive off and Dale Steyn fuller one burst through Tabraiz Shamsi's hands at mid-off.

It was a regulation catch.

Imam, a compact and underrated opener, took full advantage of his life on 53 to work his way to a cultured 101 … and passing 1000 ODI runs in the process.

Steyn, who clearly relished bowling to his so-called bunny, Mohammad Hafeez, was the victim once again when the veteran of Pakistan cut him to slip, only for Hashim Amla to spill the chance at slip.

Hafeez went on to stroke and superb 52 off just 45 deliveries, but at least he succumbed to one decent piece of fielding when Phehluwayo dived brilliant to his left at mid-on.

Shoeib Malik, who made 31, was dropped on 2 at the deep square, while Imad Wasim, promoted to six, was given a second chance when, on 21, Reeza Hendricks palmed his flat drive over the rope.

Imad spearheaded the late charge with an attacking, unbeaten 43 off just 23.

It was indicative of the Proteas' day in the field, though the stearing class of Steyn was a ray of light.

He was superb in claiming 2/43 off his 10.

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