Johannesburg: Leading wicket-taker Duanne Olivier said bounce and swing were key factors as bowlers again dominated on the second day of the third and final Test between South Africa and Pakistan at the Wanderers Stadium on Saturday.
Olivier claimed five for 51, his third five-wicket haul of the series, as South Africa gained a first innings lead of 77. But Pakistan’s bowlers hit back. South Africa were 135 for five in their second innings at the close, an overall lead of 212. “The match is still on,” said Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed, although he admitted that his team would need to produce their best batting performance of the series in order to chase down whatever target they are set. Players of both teams said after the first day that the pitch was better for batting than in the first two Tests – but 25 wickets have fallen in two days and the match appears to be hurtling towards another early conclusion. “The Pakistan batsmen batted quite well and quickly,” said Olivier. “If you get yourself in you will get rewarded with the bat but as a bowler, I feel there is always something, especially with the bounce at the Wanderers.” Olivier, who has taken 21 wickets in five innings said swing was a factor for the first time in the series.
“The previous two Tests there wasn’t much swing. There’s quite a bit of swing at the Wanderers. There’s still enough assistance for the bowlers and both teams have bowled well.” Olivier started the series as South Africa’s fifth-choice fast bowler but played in the first Test in Centurion because of injuries to Vernon Philander and Lungi Ngidi. He had match figures of 11 for 96, prompting South Africa to opt for a four-man pace attack when Philander returned for the second Test. Pakistan was right back in the game when medium-pacer Faheem Ashraf took two wickets in his first over to reduce South Africa to 45 for four. But Hashim Amla and Temba Bavuma blunted the bowlers in a fifth-wicket stand of 48 before Quinton de Kock joined Amla and lifted the scoring rate late in the day by scoring 34 not out off 35 balls.
Amla made a patient 42 not out off 90 balls against tight, disciplined bowling.
Sarfraz said his team had missed an opportunity with the bat to match or get close to South Africa’s first innings total of 262. They lost their last five wickets for 16 runs. Sarfraz and Babar Azam played some thrilling strokes in putting on 78 off 61 balls for the sixth wicket but both were out within the space of five balls, to be followed immediately by Ashraf, who was out the first ball to Olivier. “If you want to score here you have to play positively because a good ball is coming,” said Sarfraz, who scored 50 off 40 balls. But he blamed “three bad shots, me, Babar and Faheem” for the collapse. Sarfraz played one cut shot too many and was caught at first slip off Kagiso Rabada before Azam hooked Olivier to long leg. Ashraf got into a tangle trying to play a pull shot and spliced a simple catch to short leg. Sarfraz said the bowlers had also let their standards slip towards the end of the day when De Kock flourished. “We bowled really well but the last 45 minutes we were not up to the mark,” he said.
“Was thinking to commit suicide”, Arthur on Pakistan’s defeat against India
LONDON: Head coach Mickey Arthur has claimed Pakistan’s World Cup defeat against bitter rivals India was so painful that it left him wanting to “commit suicide”.
Pakistan suffered a bruising 89-run loss to India in Manchester on June 16, a result which sparked a furious backlash from their frustrated fans.
The defeat put Pakistan’s hopes of reaching the World Cup semi-finals in grave danger.
And, although they kept alive their slender last-four hopes by beating South Africa on Sunday, Arthur admitted the India loss left him feeling desperately low.
“Last Sunday I wanted to commit suicide,” Arthur said.
“But it was, you know, it s only one performance.
“It happens so quick. You lose a game; you lose another game; it s a World Cup; media scrutiny; public expectation, and then you almost go into sort of survival mode. We’ve all been there.”
Arthur s emotional comment may have been exaggerated to show how passionate he is about his job.
But some fans feel the South Africa-born coach s words are in bad taste given Pakistan s former coach Bob Woolmer died of natural causes during the 2007 World Cup.
Pakistan lifted Arthur’s spirits with an impressive 49-run win against South Africa at Lords.
They now need to win their remaining three matches and improve their inferior net run-rate to have a chance of finishing in the top four and advancing to the semi-finals.
Pakistan play New Zealand in Birmingham on Wednesday.
“We always keep telling our players, it s one performance. Who is going to stimulate us today?” Arthur added.
Cricket World Cup: Green Shirts must improve fielding!
LAHORE: Pakistan cricket team would have to look into it’s darkest area which is poor fielding, before going into the crunch match of the World Cup against New Zealand on Wednesday at Edgbaston, England.
An uphill task yet to be achieved by Pak team is to strike a victory against Kiwis in the coming match, and win the games against Afghanistan as well as Bangladesh in order to remain in contention for the semi-final qualifications.
Even the success in the coming three matches does not guarantee the green shirts a ticket to the semi-final as it also heavily depends on how the top notch of the World Cup would perform in their remaining matches.
A victory against South Africa, their second in the grand event in England, has pumped up confidence in the Pak team and they seem ready to take on Kiwis challenge in a decent manner and to go all out for a success by showcasing collective efforts,but lax fielding stills remains a worry for the Pak team as it dropped seven catches of South African player but still managed to win, thanks to a master and steady knock by Haris Sohail.
Pakistan team has been left with no choice but not to repeat lapses in fielding, especially in catches when it takes the field against Kiwis.
The sour reality of poor fielding of Pak team and dropping of catches by different players has helped the New Zealanders to establish the status of favorites in the pre-match ratings. According to the pundits of the game, Kiwis have 58 percent of success compared to Pakistan’s 42 percent in tomorrow’s, Wednesday match of the Cup at Agbadastan ground where the match will start at 2.30 pm (PST).
Because of its superb run, New Zealanders are at the top of the points table with eleven points. Kiwis have so far played six matches, winning five games and one match failed to produce any result.
Pak team is among the bottom teams at the table at seventh place which portrays green shirts’ not up to the mark performance in the elite event. Pak team won two matches, lost three as one math failed to produce any result (washed out), out of total six encounters played so far. The greens shirts have five points.
Display of aggressive cricket with precision and responsibility can lead Pak team to success New Zealand in a challenging encounter. Pakistan team has been caught in a difficult situation for their hunt to finish among the top fours teams as semi-finalists.
The ranking difference between Kiwis and Pakistan widely suggests the superiority of the New Zealand team which is the number one team in one-day matches, whereas Pakistan is at a low six number position.
If Pakistan team manages to upset the world number one Kiwis side, then they will be facing Afghanistan challenge on June 29 followed by Bangladesh encounter on July 5 and they have to play all these matches with a do or die approach for achieving desired results.
‘Alive and kicking’ – Pakistan eye unlikely World Cup survival
LONDON: Pakistan find themselves “alive and kicking” in the World Cup despite a disastrous start as coach Mickey Arthur warned his unpredictable team were still gunning for the semi-finals.
The 1992 champions were on the brink of elimination after losing three of their first five games, including a bruising defeat to arch-rivals India.
But Sunday’s 49-run win over South Africa has kept alive Pakistan’s chances of qualifying for the last four.
They now need to win their remaining three matches against New Zealand, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, and hope other results go their way.
New Zealand are top of the 10-team table ahead of Australia, India and England, followed by Sri Lanka, Bangladesh with Pakistan in seventh place.
However, England, smarting from their upset against Sri Lanka, will be out of the running for the last four if they lose their remaining three games against Australia, India and New Zealand.
Even table-toppers New Zealand can lose their last three and not qualify — a scenario that is giving Pakistan hope.
“”We are alive and kicking, without a doubt,” said Arthur. “Yes, we are banking on other teams doing us a favour. It probably is — but we’ve got to win three games.”
Arthur said Pakistan, who stunned England earlier in the tournament, can beat any team if they play to their potential.
“When we play our best game, we can beat anybody. Whether that’s New Zealand, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, our remaining games, or England, we showed.
“We put our three disciplines together, we are as good as any team in this competition. We are very firmly in the World Cup. We win our next three games, we’ll qualify.”
Arthur said his players came out fighting after their defeat to India in Manchester last week.
“Our boys hurt, all of us hurt, incredibly. Guys didn’t sleep much, but they came to the training every day and put in (hard work) in order to try and turn it around, and we got some just reward against South Africa.”
Pakistan still need to hugely improve their sloppy fielding, dropping as many as five catches against South Africa — three of them by Mohammad Amir.
“Our problem is we haven’t put three disciplines together yet in any game,” said Arthur whose team scored 308-7 against South Africa before restricting them to 259-9.
“We bowled well; we batted well; we didn’t field well (against South Africa). So when we put three disciplines together, we’ll be exceptional.
“The closest we’ve got was when we beat England.”
Underlining Pakistan’s mercurial nature, the 14-run win over top-ranked England followed their seven-wicket defeat against the West Indies, when they were shot out for 105 in their opening game.
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