Pakistan beat SA to level series 1-1

Pakistan overcame a scrappy effort in the fielding on Saturday to beat South Africa by 25 runs in the second limited-overs international.

updated: October 23, 2007 16:57 IST
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Pakistan overcame a scrappy effort in the fielding on Saturday to beat South Africa by 25 runs in the second limited-overs international and level the five-match series 1-1.

Captain Graeme Smith top-scored with a dogged 65 off 96 balls as South Africa was bowled out for 240 in 49.3 overs after Pakistan made a respectable 265-9 off its 50 overs.

"Winning is always great and I knew 265 was defendable on this slow wicket," Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik said.

Smith was bowled off a no-ball before he had scored and was thrice dropped before he had completed his half century.

Pakistan survived a late onslaught by Albie Morkel (31), who was also dropped on 20, and Shaun Pollock (37) as medium fast Rao Iftikhar ended up with a disciplined career-best figures of 3-43.

"The credit goes to Mohammad Yousuf for hanging in there, and we knew chasing 266 on this wicket will always be difficult," Smith said.

South Africa lost experienced Herschelle Gibbs and Jacques Kallis for noughts before Smith revived the team's hopes when he added 76 runs with A B de Villiers (35) - who also had a lucky escape when Abdul Rehman dropped a hard one-handed catch at mid-wicket.

Smith was the sixth man to go in the 35th over when Kamran Akmal finally held onto a faint edge off left-arm spinner Rehman.

Pakistan players had a horrifying day in the field as they dropped at least five catches with South African captain Graeme Smith being the prime beneficiary.

"Anyone can drop catches and the credit of today's victory goes to our bowlers," Malik said.

"We had made mistakes in the field and I hope we get better from here in the remaining three matches," he added.

Mohammad Yusuf shines

Earlier, Yousuf (117) hit nine fours in registering his 13th century in one-day internationals off 143 balls but South Africa did well in the late overs to restrict its opponents.

Yousuf was dismissed in the 48th over when Morkel knocked back his leg stump as he attempted to pull the medium fast bowler.

Yousuf survived a confident lbw appeal of Morkel when on 64 before he completed his century in the 45th over with a square driven boundary off Jacques Kallis.

"It was a difficult wicket to bat on, very slow and difficult to find gaps," Yousuf said.

"I had made up my mind that if we get past 250 our bowlers can defend the total," he said.

Pakistan was pegged back after Malik (56 off 2 balls) and Yousuf added 107 runs for the fourth wicket off 115 balls.

Malik dominated the century-partnership and thrice hit off-spinner Johan Botha for sixes and then lofted one more straight over Kallis' head.

Charl Langeveldt broke the threatening stand in the 38th over when Malik holed out in the deep in an attempt to clear Justin Kemp at long on.

Langeveldt also took a brilliant running catch to dismiss dangerman Shahid Afridi (6), slowing Pakistan's acceleration in the last five overs.

Yousuf twice had to rebuild the innings after Malik won his first toss of the series and elected to bat.

Yousuf and Younis Khan (32) added 60 off 77 balls after both openers fell cheaply inside the first six over. However, Yousuf ran out his partner when he declined a quick single after taking a few paces.

Pollock conceded just 29 runs off his 10 overs for the wicket of Akmal while Morkel (2-43) Ntini (2-44) and Langeveldt (2-47) did well in restricting Pakistan.

The third game of the five-match series will be played at Faisalabad on October 23.