Sports News

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Irfan on Saturday was ruled out of the short tour of South Africa after developing a hip strain during the Twenty20 international against the Proteas on Friday.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) named uncapped fast bowler Bilawal Bhatti as a replacement in a 17-member squad for the two Twenty20s and three one-day internationals which begins with a Twenty20 at Johannesburg on Wednesday.

Misbah-ul-Haq has been retained as captain for the three ODIs after losing the series 4-1 against South Africa in the United Arab Emirates.

Mohammad Hafeez, who did not score a run in Pakistan's 2-0 rout against the Proteas in Twenty20s, will continue to lead in the shorter format.

The PCB said that Irfan will stay in the UAE for medical checkups.

Irfan fell over in his follow through while bowling his second over on Friday, and walked off the field in pain.

He returned to bat at No. 11, but was visibly in discomfort while running between the wickets as Pakistan lost the second Twenty20 by six runs.

Surprisingly Pakistan selectors kept faith with the same set of batsmen who struggled against South Africa in the UAE.

Allrounders Abdul Razzaq and Shoaib Malik, who both made an unimpressive return to the team for the Twenty20s, got another opportunity to strike forms along with struggling Shahid Afridi, Umar Akmal and Nasir Jasmhed.

Cape Town will host the second Twenty20 on Nov. 22 and the first one-day international on Nov. 24. The remaining two ODIs will be played at Port Elizabeth (Nov. 27) and at Centurion (Nov. 30).

It will be the third bilateral one-day series between the two countries this year. Pakistan lost 3-2 against the Proteas in South Africa earlier this year before losing in the UAE. Pakistan is yet to beat South Africa in seven bilateral one-day series.

The just-completed series saw South Africa jump to No. 3 in the world Twenty20 rankings, and Pakistan fall to No. 4.

Squad: Misbah-ul-Haq (captain ODIs), Mohammad Hafeez (captain T20s), Ahmad Shehzad, Umar Akmal, Asad Shafiq, Umar Amin, Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq, Shoaib Malik, Sohaib Maqsood, Sohail Tanvir, Anwar Ali, Junaid Khan, Saeed Ajmal, Abdul Rehman, Nasir Jamshed, Bilawal Bhatti.

SHARJAH: Captain Misbah-ul-Haq says Pakistan's trouncing in the one-day series against South Africa is an ominous sign before the 2015 World Cup.

Pakistan went down by 117 runs in the fifth and final match in Sharjah on Monday, losing the series 4-1.

Batting was once again the problem with Pakistan, chasing a target of 269, folding for 151 in 35.3 overs.

Misbah said the consistent batting failures are worrying.

“As a captain this is very difficult for me and these are worrying signs for me before the World Cup 2015,” he said after the match.

Pakistan have been let down by their batsmen since their 3-0 Test rout in South Africa. They also lost the one-day series 3-2 in February-March this year.

In June they lost all three of their matches in the Champions Trophy in England, and despite their one-day win in the West Indies the batting remains a headache.

In September Pakistan lost a one-day game and a Test match against cricketing minnows Zimbabwe.

“Every player has got adequate chances, more than two series, and yet they are not performing and it's a big worry,” the captain said.

“But rather making a big hue and cry over it we must sit down and think seriously about it.”

“As captain you are responsible,” said Misbah, who took over as Test captain in 2010 and one-day skipper in 2011.

Asked if he wants to keep the captaincy until the 2015 World Cup, he replied: “I always say this and I maintain that I want to play as long as I am fit.”

Misbah's counterpart AB de Villier said victory in the one-day series is a step in the right direction before the World Cup, to be jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand.

The captain, who hit an unbeaten 115 on Monday, said the victory had lifted the Proteas after their 4-1 loss in Sri Lanka in July.

“We really hit an all-time low in Sri Lanka and moving up from there is pleasing to me and the coaching staff and the whole team,” he said.

Batting was tough on a slow Sharjah stadium pitch.

“It was one of the harder innings that I have played up until 60-70 runs. It was bloody difficult,” he said.

“Facing (Mohammad) Irfan there -- he was beating the bat -- was difficult. Saeed Ajmal was bowling well and (Shahid) Afridi bowled an amazing spell and I felt I couldn't get the ball off the square.

“But once I hit a couple in the middle in the 42 and 43rd overs it felt really good and I took my opportunity and followed through nicely,” De Villiers said of his 102-ball knock studded with ten boundaries and three sixes.

The teams now play two Twenty20s in Dubai on Wednesday and Friday.

SHARJAH: AB de Villiers stormed to an unbeaten century to help South Africa beat Pakistan convincingly by 117 runs in the fifth and final one-dayer in Sharjah on Monday, winning the five-match series 4-1.

De Villiers scored 115 from 102 balls with ten boundaries and three sixes, his 15th one-day hundred, to lift South Africa to an imperious 268-7 before bowling Pakistan out for 151 in 35.3 overs.

Sohaib Maqsood top-scored with a solid 53 but otherwise Pakistan failed to capitalise on a weakened South African bowling attack, with spearheads Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, and spinner Imran Tahir rested for the meaningless match as the series had already been decided.

De Villiers said it was satisfying to win the series after the team's 4-1 loss in Sri Lanka in July.

“It is satisfying to win the series and I think the players played exceptionally well throughout the series and played as a unit,” said De Villiers.

“It was tough to bat on this pitch but I hung on and we were thinking of 220-plus, but in the end we got a good total.”

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul Haq rued another batting failure.

“I think they played very well,” said Misbah.

“They deserved this win and it was the same old batting collapse. We have to seriously think about this.”

Pakistan were 8-2 with Ahmed Shehzad (two) and Mohammad Hafeez (six) by the fifth over, once again highlighting their top-order failure in the series.

It was Maqsood, who hit 56 on his debut in Abu Dhabi on Friday, who gave some consolation to another lackluster batting effort with a 63-ball half-century before he became one of two victims for Jean-Paul Duminy, who finished with 2-14. Wayne Parnell finished with 3-36.

Umar Akmal made 30 while Misbah managed 18. Shahid Afridi (nine) and Umar Amin (five) failed once more as South Africa took the last six wickets for a mere 41 runs.

South Africa won the toss and batted on a slow Sharjah stadium pitch.

De Villiers lifted the tempo in the final overs, hitting Sohail Tanvir's final over for 25 runs, reaching his hundred with a four towards mid-wicket, which came off 99 balls.

He then hit the left-armer for six, four and four to help South Africa add 114 in the last ten overs.

At 105 he also completed 6,000 one-day runs, becoming the fifth South African batsmen to reach the milestone. Jacques Kallis (11,469), Herschelle Gibbs (8094), Graeme Smith (6976) and Gary Kirsten (6798) were others to score 6,000 or more one-day runs for South Africa.

De Villiers was initially slow, reaching his fifty off 70 balls, with a big six off Saeed Ajmal towards mid-wicket. He added an invaluable 83 for the sixth wicket with Ryan McLaren (27) before lashing out in the final overs.

De Villiers had built the innings with an invaluable 62-run stand for the fourth wicket with Faf du Plessis, who made an 89-ball 46 with the help of two boundaries.

Quinton de Kock (34) added 50 with Du Plessis after Hashim Amla fell in the first over of the innings for three. Ajmal finished with 3-45 while Khan took 2-57.

South Africa won the first match by one run in Sharjah before Pakistan levelled the series with a 66-run win in Dubai. South Africa then won both the matches in Abu Dhabi by 68 and 28 runs respectively.

The two teams now play Twenty20 internationals in Dubai on Wednesday and Friday.

KAKAMIGAHARA: Defending champions, Pakistan, on Sunday retained its title defeating hosts Japan by a margin of two goals in the final match of the third Asian Champions Trophy field hockey tournament being played in Japan's Kakamighara city, DawnNews reported.

The Japanese team took an aggressive start scoring one goal to take the lead in the first half.

Pakistan replied with a comeback in the second half scoring three goals before the 66th minute.

The green-shirts had remained unbeaten in the tournament defeating Omman, Malaysia, China and India in the group stage matches.

The previous match played between Pakistan and Japan, during the group stages, had ended in a 1-1 draw.

Malaysia secured the third position in the tournament.

CAPE TOWN: South Africa will host Pakistan in a short limited-overs series this month to make up for India's decision to curtail its end-of-year tour.

Cricket South Africa said on Tuesday that Pakistan would play three one-day internationals and two Twenty20s and arrive in South Africa on Nov. 18, straight after the teams' current series in United Arab Emirates.

India was due to tour for two months from late November for three Tests, seven ODIs and two T20s. The Board of Control for Cricket in India rejected that schedule and the Indians will now play just two tests and three ODIs.

CSA said chief executive Haroon Lorgat was flying to Dubai later Tuesday to meet with the Pakistan Cricket Board to agree on exact dates.

DUBAI: Dashing all-rounder Shahid Afridi on Sunday showed confidence Pakistan can pull off a one-day series win despite the return of Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn in the South African squad for the last three matches.

Afridi starred with 3-26 to add to his 20-ball 26 in Pakistan’s comprehensive 66-run win in the second One-day International here on Friday which levelled the five-match series at 1-1.

Pakistan spurned a golden opportunity to win the first match in Sharjah last Wednesday, going down by one run from a winning position.

But Afridi, 33, said the way their bowlers were performing Pakistan can win the series.

“There is no doubt Amla and Steyn will strengthen South Africa but the way our bowlers are doing, I am sure we can beat South Africa,” Afridi told reporters.

Amla returned to Dubai on Sunday after missing the second Test and the first two one-day games due to the birth of his child back home.

Steyn is likely to join the squad in time for the third match in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday after returning home for a rest before the one-day series.

Besides Afridi, off-spinner Saeed Ajmal took 2-15 and paceman Mohammad Irfan claimed 3-53 in the second match.

Afridi brushed aside criticism of failing to guide Pakistan to a win when only 19 runs were needed when he walked into bat in the first match.

“I got a bad ball which I hit and got out, it could have been a six,” said Afridi who made only nine in that match.

“It’s not Afridi versus South Africa, its Pakistan versus South Africa,” said Afridi, who so far has 365 wickets in 364 matches.

He also has 7,395 runs, including a world record 37-ball hundred made against Sri Lanka in 1996.

Afridi said he was enjoying being part of Pakistan’s squad.

“I am enjoying the game,” said Afridi.“This current team is a mix of seniors and juniors and I am feeling younger with each passing day.”

Afridi said he hoped Pakistan’s batting will click in the remaining matches.

“The batting needs to be improved, its a matter of applying ourselves,” said Afridi.

The fourth match will also be played in Abu Dhabi on Friday while the fifth and final match will be held in Sharjah on Nov 11.—AFP

DUBAI: Pakistan won the second day-night international against South Africa by 66 runs in Dubai on Friday, to level the five-match series at 1-1.

Pakistan were bowled out for 209 in 49.4 overs with Ahmed Shehzad top-scoring with 58 while Ryan McLaren (4-34) and Mornke Morkel (3-38) shared the bowling honours.

South Africa could not cope against Pakistan's slow bowlers as they were dismissed for 143 in 40.4 overs. McLaren top-scored with 29 not out.

South Africa won the first one-dayer in Sharjah by one run.

The remaining matches will be played in Abu Dhabi (November 6 and 8) and in Sharjah (November 11).

Brief scores: Pakistan 209 in 49.4 overs (Ahmed Shehzad 58; R. McLaren 4-34, M. Morkel 3-38); South Africa 143 in 40.4 overs (R. McLaren 29 not out, Shahid Afridi 3-26, Mohammad Irfan 3-53).

Teams: Pakistan: Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Irfan, Nasir Jamshed, Saeed Ajmal, Shahid Afridi, Sohail Tanvir, Umar Akmal, Umar Amin, Wahab Riaz

South Africa: AB de Villiers (capt), Coiln Ingram, Jean-Paul Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, Ryan McLaren, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Graeme Smith, Lonwabo Tsotsobe

Umpires: Steve Davis (AUS) and Shozab Raza (PAK) TV umpire: Richard Illingworth (ENG) Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle (SRI)

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