By BV Swagath
Pakistan choked to a 1-run defeat against South Africa in the First ODI at Sharjah on Wednesday. Pakistan needing just 183 to win from 50 overs were bowled out for 182.
Batting first after winning the toss, South Africa struggled following a batting collapse. The Proteas slipped to 63 for 5 in the 19th over losing Skipper AB de Villiers to Saeed Ajmal. Quick bowler Wayne Parnell with a career best of 56 from 70 balls and David Miller with 37 (from 51 balls) helped the Proteas to a respectable total of 183. Saeed Ajmal with 4 for 30 and Shahid Afridi with 3 for 37 ran through the South African line-up.
Pakistan were solidly placed at 75 for 1 but they played in the hands of South Africa with their slow batting. SA sniffed an opportunity when Misbah-ul-Haq got out in the 36th over with Pakistan at 135 for 4. Pak had also lost opener Ahmed Shehzad prior to him after scoring 58 (from 92 balls).
The match completely tilted in SA’s favour from the 41st over as Pakistan went onto lose its remaining six wickets for just 17 runs! Wayne Parnell and Imran Tahir took three wickets each while Morne Morkel and Lonwabo Tsotsobe took two wickets each.