South Africa draw first blood
It was tipped to be a perfect batting strip but it was the bowlers who stole the show as South Africa won the first Twenty20 International of the Cool & Cool Cup at the Shaikh Zayed International Cricket Stadium.
Left-arm Quick Lonwabo Tsotsobe and captain and spinner Johan Botha snapped three wickets apiece as South Africa defeated Pakistan by six wickets. It was the first Twenty20 International to be played in Abu Dhabi. The match was also a charity match to raise funds for Pakistanís flood victims. Required to score 120, South Africa recovered from a fiery spell from quick Shoaib Akhtar before getting home with 10 balls to spare. JP Duminy made 41 from 46 balls with five boundaries before Colin Ingram top scored to take them home with an unbeaten 45 from 37 balls with four boundaries and two sixes.
Shoaib Akhtar picked up two wickets for 29 runs off his four overs, which also included a maiden. He removed opener Loots Bosman for two before having AB de Villiers, the worldís No.1 ODI batsman, for nought. The second Twenty20 International will be played on Wednesday. Earlier, Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi won the toss and elected to bat.
South Africa were with-out their talismatic all-rounder Jacques Kallis and quick Dale Steyn, who are recovering from injuries. Morne Morkel made a comeback after missing the home series against Zimbabwe, also due to injury. Kallis and Steyn too had missed the home series against Zimbabwe. Pakistan had a pretty decent start after the South African quicks the Morkel brothers ó Albie and Morne had a torrid time with the ball, which forced captain Johan Botha to ring in the changes. Albie and Lonwabo Tsotsobe opened the attack but Albie was soon taken off after just one over after bowling four wides, apart from giving away two boundaries.
Albie began with two wides down the leg-side before Farhat clipped the third ball off his pads towards mid-wicket for a boundary. He followed that up with a similar shot in the same region for a boundary again. Albie strayed down the leg-side again and ended up by conceding 14 runs off the first over. While Albie had a wretched first over Lonwabo Tsotsobe had a dream one by getting South Africa their first wicket.
Farhat slashed Tsotsobe last delivery of the first over and was taken at second slip by Graeme Smith. Farhatís stay lasted eight balls in which he scored two boundaries for his 10. South African captain Johan Botha replaced Albie Morkel with Morne Morkel but the latter started with consecutive no-balls, off which one-down batsman Mo-hammad Hafeez drove the second free hit for a boundary through covers. He guided another down the third man boundary. Pakistan were 38 for the loss of one wicket after five overs after which the other opener Shahzaib Hassan too didnít last long.
Hassan scooped up a Tsotsobe delivery and JP Duminy did well by running to take a brilliant catch. New batsman Umar Akmal came in a drove Tsotsobe through covers for a boundary as Botha rung in the bowling changes yet again. Botha brought himself for Tsotsobe and the spinner struck immediately, removing Hafeez, caught by Colin Ingram. Pakistan were 46 for 3 in seven overs and Hafeezís wicket saw a huge roar go around the stadium as their favourite man captain Shahid Afridi walked in. And he obliged, clubbing Botha off the first ball he faced for a six over long on.
Later, he slammed Rusty Theron towards mid-wicket for a boundary. Afridi again went on the rampage, smashing two sixes on the trot over long on off Botha but the bowler had the last laugh. Afridi was caught at long on by Loots Bosman for a quickfire off just seven balls.
His knock was peppered with three sixes and a boundary. Pakistan had raced from 46 for 3 to 75 for 4 thanks to Afridiís cameo but they kept losing wickets after that. Pakistan lost the plot by then before Misbah-ul-Haq made an unbeaten 27 from 32 balls with two boundaries and a six. Pakistan finished up at 119 from 19.5 overs. Tsotsobe snapped up three wickets for 16 runs, while captain Botha too returned with three wickets for 31.
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