Newcomers Bilawal Bhatti, Anwar Ali spur Pakistan win by 23 runs.
Bilawal Bhatti and Anwar Ali led Pakistan to victory in the first One Day International cricket match against South Africa on Sunday. Pakistan scored 218 runs for the loss of nine wickets; the South Africa team was bowled out at 195.
Newcomers Bhatti and Ali prospered after Pakistan’s recognized batsmen struggled against a strong pace attack from South Africa. Both men, who have each scored first-class centuries despite primarily being picked as bowlers, went for their shots to keep their side in the game.
They shared an eighth-wicket stand of 74 runs off 70 deliveries to rescue Pakistan from a precarious score of 131 runs. Bhatti scored a total of 39 runs, including three fours and two sixes, off 25 balls. Ali scored 43 runs, including six fours. “We spoke about batting out the 50 overs,” said Ali. “We have played together a lot in domestic cricket so that helped.”
When it came to bowling, both then took five wickets: 22-year-old Bhatti claimed three wickets for 37 in South Africa’s innings, while 25-year-old Ali claimed two, including the crucial wicket of Jacques Kallis, for 24.
Bhatti and Ali shared the Man of the Match award and earned high praise from the team captain, Misbah-ul-Haq. “I am very happy, especially as the two youngsters set it up,” he said. “The plan was to negotiate the new ball, then accelerate, but we kept losing wickets at the wrong time. It was not a good total but the bowlers did really well.”
Despite a half-century from returning veteran Kallis, South Africa were bowled out for 195.
For the first time since South Africa began their rise to the top of the Test rankings, the hosts fielded all three of their leading fast-bowlers—Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander, Morne Morkel—in the same One Day side.
South Africa suffered an early blow when Hashim Amla exposed his leg stump and was bowled by Junaid Khan in the third over of their innings. Graeme Smith followed in the next over, stumped by Umar Akmal off Mohammad Hafeez—although it was a fortuitous dismissal for the wicketkeeper as the ball bounced off his gloves, onto the ground, and into the stumps while Smith’s foot was momentarily off ground.
“The bowlers did a brilliant job in getting them seven down, but we let it slip at the end,” said A. B. de Villiers, captain of the South African squad.