Pakistan made history by winning their first-ever one-day international at Newlands. Poor bowling in the last 15 overs, a lack of significant batting partnerships and a host of poor fielding cost the Proteas, who lost by 23 runs in the first game of a three-match ODI series on Sunday. LYNN BUTLER picks five talking points from the first match.
Pakistan secured a 1-0 lead in the first One-Day International at Newlands on Sunday. Pakistan won the game by 23 runs with 11 balls to spare, thanks to dream debuts from Bilawal Bhatti and Anwar Ali, who both put in all-round performances to savour for a long time.
Winning the toss and choosing to bat first, Pakistan muscled their way to 218-9 in 50 overs, recovering from 131-7. The men on debut, Bhatti and Ali, stole the show with a late surge, putting on 74 for the eighth wicket as South Africa’s bowlers struggled to the death. Despite Dale Steyn’s fine performance of 10-2-33-3, there was no back-up from anyone else in the team. There was no Lonwabo Tsotsobe, who was out with the flu, no Ryan McLaren and no Faf du Plessis. Tsotsobe’s absence was evident, as was McLaren’s, and the home side came up short, losing only their fifth game at Newlands.
The batsmen were well below par and only two players managed to pass the 20-run mark. Bhatti completed a dream debut by picking up three wickets to go with his 39 off 25 with the bat. That’s it for the wrap-up; here are five talking points from the first game.
Jacques Kallis’ welcome back
Jacques Kallis returned to the South African one-day side with a good performance with both bat and ball. Kallis, who has not played a one-day game since 29 February 2012 against New Zealand, bagged two wickets for 53 from eight overs. Although that was the most expensive of the bowlers, he did provide some impetus at the start when he dismissed opener Ahmed Shezad early on. With the willow, he scored off 71 balls with six boundaries including a six – one of just two South Africans to pass the 20-run mark. Kallis still aspires to play in the 2015 World Cup, and although that’s a long way off, there are some signs that he might just hang on.
Vernon Philander’s place in the one-day team is still not secure
Philander hasn’t had much time in the South African one-day side since last featuring against Sri Lanka in 2012. He’s played 10 matches for the Proteas thus far and has managed to bag 10 wickets at an average of 30.80. In Sunday’s ODI against Pakistan, he struggled with some of his variations, but yielded returns of one for 37. In the absence of Lonwabo Tsotsobe, who is ill with flu, Philander hasn’t quite managed to fill the role of wicket-taking bowler. Tsotsobe as a left-arm option gives the Proteas more variation and has far more control than Philander.
South Africa is struggling to finish up
South Africa has bowled an opponent team out 10 times this year from 23 games and has bowled out a side 25 times in over 50 games across two years. AB de Villiers admitted that the final 15 overs on Sunday went a bit awry, and it showed when two inexperienced batsmen were allowed to put on 74 runs off 70 balls. South Africa really need to work on tightening things up at the death. Pakistan went from 131-7 to 218-9 in 50 overs with 73 runs coming from the last 10 overs. In those ten, the batsmen twice managed to nudge the over total into double figures, something which did not happen once in all of the previous 40 overs.
South Africa’s fielding was below par on Sunday at Newlands, dropping sitters. Sohaib Maqsood got away with murder twice, both times involving Graeme Smith. There was a miscommunication mishap from Vernon Philander and Smith which should’ve been caught, but instead both players watched as the ball landed right between them. A couple of throws missed the stumps, with Smith’s four overthrows being a particular lowlight. There were also a few missed runout chances, and looking back over the performance, the Proteas don’t have anything to smile about considering their reputation as one of the best fielding sides in the world.
Failure to chase
South Africa once again failed to chase in what seemed like a reasonable total for the home side. Their struggles was, once again, a lack of consistent partnerships, something which the skipper admits “has been going on for some time now”. Although there was some turn on the deck later on in the match, it was mostly flat, and the South African lower order embarrassed some of the men at the top. South Africa looked fatigued on the field and lost their way throughout the innings. Only Kallis with 50 and JP Duminy with 49 provided some resistance to the Pakistani bowling attack. Out of their 23 ODIs played this year, South Africa have lost seven batting second. It’s a galling and obvious issue, but at least De Villiers and co are aware of their shortcomings.
First ODI result summary
Pakistan 218-9 (50 overs)
Bilawal Bhatti 39 (25), Anwar Ali 43* (55); Dale Steyn 10-2-33-3, Morne Morkel 10-0-39-3
South Africa 195 all out (48.1 overs)
Jacques Kallis 50 (71), JP Duminy 49 (70); Anwar Ali 6-0-24-2, Bilawal Bhatti 7.1-0-37-3
Pakistan won by 23 runs DM
Photo: Pakistan’s players celebrate after dismissing South Africa’s Graeme Smith during the first One Day International cricket match against South Africa in Cape Town, November 24, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings
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