Gul blasts Pakistan to victory over South Africa in low-scoring encounter
14:02 GMT, 28 September 2012
Umar Akmal and Umar Gul led a superb fightback as Pakistan snatched a two-wicket victory against South Africa in a thrilling opening Group 2 match of the World Twenty20 Super Eights.
Despite chasing a modest 134 for victory, Pakistan looked destined for defeat as they slumped to 76 for seven in the 15th over, needing 58 runs off the final 30 balls.
However, Akmal and Gul joined forces to turn the game on its head in an eighth-wicket partnership worth 49 in just 4.3 overs.
Gul force: Umar Gul smashed three sixes in his 32
Click here for the full scorecard from Colombo
Man of the match Gul provided much of the
momentum as he smashed three sixes and two fours in a 17-ball 32 before
falling to the final ball of the penultimate over.
That left Pakistan needing nine off the last over and Akmal clubbed a
Morne Morkel full toss for six off the second ball before Saeed Ajmal
sealed the victory with a guided four off the fourth.
Akmal finished unbeaten on 43 off 41 deliveries, having also struck four other boundaries to go with that maximum.
The triumph leaves Pakistan at the top of Group 2 ahead of Friday afternoon's match between Australia and India.
Winning moment: Saeed Ajmal (left) and Umar Akmal celebrate Pakistan's win
South Africa were earlier limited to 133 for six after suffering a poor start in Colombo.
They lost Hashim Amla (six), Richard Levi (eight) and Jacques Kallis
(12) as they struggled to 28 for three after six overs, before JP Duminy
and AB de Villiers led a recovery.
Duminy put on 38 for the fourth wicket with Farhaan Behardien (18)
before adding 44 with captain De Villiers to help South Africa into
three figures before both fell in the closing overs.
The Proteas' total looked below par, and Pakistan were quickly making
in-roads into their target as captain Mohammad Hafeez and Imran Nazir
put on a rapid 24 for the first wicket.
Top scorer: JP Duminy hit 48 runs earlier in the day for the Proteas
Key man: Ajmal took the wicket of Richard Levi
However, South Africa hit back in emphatic fashion with three breakthroughs in seven balls.
Paceman Dale Steyn made the first, having Nazir caught behind by De
Villiers for 14, before spinner Robin Peterson struck twice in his first
over, bouncing back from being smashed for six off his opening delivery
by having Hafeez (15) and Nasir Jamshed (nought) stumped.
That was the start of a collapse that saw Pakistan in all sorts of
trouble but, just when it appeared as though South Africa were cruising
to victory, Akmal and Gul combined to dramatic effect.