Abu Dhabi, Oct.17, 2013: In its first home series, Pakistan defeats South Africa, ranked number one by the International Cricket Council (ICC). This is South Africa’s first test defeat in almost three years; their last loss was at the hands of Sri Lanka, in 2010.
Pakistan has been hosting its home series at the neutral venue in United Arab Emirates (UAE) – either at Shajah or at Abu Dhabi – Since the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore. No team has been willing to visit Pakistan and play them on their home soil due to security fears. As a result, Pakistani cricket has been badly effected and in spite of assurances given by the government, no-one is ready to play again in Pakistan; the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) lost billions of rupees when they were denied the opportunity to co-host the 2011 Cricket World Cup.
This latest win will surely dent South Africa’s morale in the run up to the 2015 Cricket World Cup, to be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand. Pakistan, by contrast, will come away with a boost the confidence.
South Africa won the toss and elected to bat first on what appeared to be a batting-friendly wicket, but due to some immaculate line and length bowling by the Pakistan pacers up front and later on the spin wizardry of Saeed Ajmal, the South Africans were only able to amass 249 runs in their first innings. In reply, Pakistan made 442 runs and forced the follow on. The main run scorer from Pakistan was Khurram Manzoor, who made 148 runs and was caught in the second slip by birthday boy Jacques Kallis, off a ball from Phil Philander.
In the follow on, South African batting stumbled once again and were barely able to avoid the follow on – but not the defeat. They gave Pakistan a target of only 40 runs which the team made with the loss of three wickets – hence, securing an historic win of seven wickets over South Africa.
In the post match presentation, the South African captain, Abe DeVilliers, was all praise for the Pakistan team, which he admitted had out-classed them in all departments of the game and were the deserving winners. Pakistan’s captain Mishbal-ul-Haq appreciated the the brilliant knock by Khurram Manzoor; he added that it was lack of experience that he was out at the score of 148, only two runs short of 150, which would have been a landmark, both for him and the rest of the team. Furthermore, he added that as cricket is a team sport, it is not the effort of one player only but the combined performance of the whole team that contributed to this memorable defeat the South African in this first test match.
He added that, as this win comes on the second day of the Eid-ulAzha festival, it is a gift from the Pakistan team to the whole nation.
An Op-ed writtenby : Iftikhar Tariq Khanzada