BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — South Africa made light of its weakened bowling attack by rolling over beleaguered Pakistan for 167 to clinch a 67-run win at Edgbaston on Monday, reviving its hopes in the Champions Trophy.
The Pakistanis' campaign lies in tatters with this second straight loss in Group B, their flimsy batting lineup collapsing as they chased a meager 234-9 on a good pitch despite South Africa being without injured strike bowlers Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel.
In front of raucous support from the large Pakistani community in Birmingham, Misbah ul-Haq (55) was the only batsman to provide any resistance as Ryan McLaren grabbed 4-19 and Chris Morris took 2-25 on his ODI debut.
"Not having Dale and Morne in the team, any bowling attack will miss them," said South Africa opener Hashim Amla, who anchored his team's innings with a measured 81 from 97 balls. "And obviously Jacques (Kallis) and Graeme (Smith) are not here and their experience is missed.
"But it's water under the bridge for us. We have new guys in the team, new energy, and fortunately a victory like this will boost the confidence of everybody." Morkel is out of the tournament with a left thigh injury, but with Steyn back in the nets and potentially returning from a side strain in time for Friday's make-or-break match against West Indies, the Proteas' chances suddenly look much rosier.
For Pakistan, though, the doom-mongers are out in force. Despite his half-century, captain Misbah was jeered by fans during his innings — maybe for his failure to cut loose with the game slipping away and also his nonchalant running between the wicket — and again in the post-match presentation ceremony.
More worryingly, the batting department appears incapable of making a big total. "As a batting unit, we can say we are totally lost," Misbah said. Of the jeers, Misbah added: "One day it's (praise), one day it's boos. When you perform well, everybody appreciates us. When you play like this, you deserve them."
Pakistan must now beat fierce rival India on Saturday to have any chance of making the semifinals. Amla made the most of being dropped by the recalled Umar Amin when on 7 to deliver a composed innings sprinkled with nine fours. He departed with his 12th ODI century in sight, messing up a reverse sweep off Saeed Ajmal to send the ball looping to short third man.
At 145-3 after 32 overs, the Proteas still looked in good shape but they soon imploded, with four of their six wickets being lost to run-outs. Two came from Muhammad Hafeez, who removed the dangerous AB de Villiers for a run-a-ball 31 just as the captain was starting to blossom, and then JP Duminy 13 balls later.
Misbah capped a brilliant fielding display by diving to his left at extra cover to snaffle David Miller (19) in the final ball of the next-to-last over. With Wahab Riaz conceding just three runs in the last over, the target looked very reachable on a lifeless track under brightening skies.
"We didn't have a lot to defend," Amla said. "But the way we fielded and bowled up front made 230 seem a lot more than it was." Pakistan's reply began painfully slowly, needing 19.1 overs to get to 50 with Imran Farhat (2), Hafeez (7) and Shoaib Malik (8) all going cheaply — the first two to the accurate Morris.
The crowd — so boisterous before the match and during South Africa's innings — quickly fell relatively silent but was stirred by Misbah, who continued where he left off in scoring 96 in vain against West Indies on Friday.
His half-century included three fours and a huge, arrowed six down the ground but he was running out of partners when he drove to Amla at mid-wicket, making it 148-7 and virtually ending Pakistan chances.
McLaren cleaned up the tail to claim his best figures in ODIs and leave Pakistan's tournament hopes in tatters. "In this competition, if you lose the first one you are pretty much under the pressure to win the next two," Amla said. "Fortunately we got on the board."