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Razzaq leads Pakistan to a narrow win over South Africa

ABU DHABI: Abdul Razzaq’s dazzling 109 helped Pakistan edge to a morale-boosting one-wicket win over South Africa in the second one-day international at the Zayed Cricket Stadium on Sunday.

razzaq pakistan leadsPakistan, which lost the opening one-dayer and both Twenty20 matches against South Africa, was staring at another defeat when Razzaq belted 10 sixes and seven boundaries for a 72-ball innings of 109.

Razzaq scored 63 of the last 65 runs and hit the final boundary as Pakistan overhauled South Africa’s score of 286 with one ball and one wicket to spare.

”This is one of my best innings ever and I am so happy that it came at a time when Pakistan cricket is going through so much troubles,” said Razzaq, who was named Man of the Match. ”I have been under tremendous pressure like many others in the team and I hope those criticizing us will realize that we are all playing for the country.

”I just wanted to stay till the end and I was just hoping that I do not mis-hit during the final overs as I was the only batsman left.”

Skipper Shahid Afridi, who had had a poor run in the three matches of the tour so far, finally found some form. Coming in at 70-4, Afridi started off on an aggressive note but after hitting three fours and two huge sixes, he got out to a rash stroke for 49.

After Afridi left, Fawad Alam was joined by Razzaq, the latter in pursuit of his first ODI half century in four years. Together they put 81 runs in just 75 balls to keep the Pakistan supporters interested before Alam scooped a catch to Albie Morkel to give Charl Langeveldt his 100th ODI wicket.

After that, Razzaq took over and not only reached his half century, the first since 2006, but went on to convert it into a match-winning century.

Earlier in the match, South Africa put up a healthy score of 286-8 after winning the toss and electing to bat. A superb century by Colin Ingram and half centuries by Hashim Amla and J.P Duminy steered them to that challenging total.

Ingram scored exactly 100, his second century in five ODIs since making his debut in the recent home series against Zimbabwe, while Amla and Duminy scored 65 and 54 respectively.

Ingram’s 100 came off 119 balls as the left-hander was at ease against both spin and pace. He scored 10 boundaries and one six and starred in two useful partnerships, an 84-run stand with Amla for the second wicket and another 86 runs for the third wicket with AB de Villiers.

Amla slammed eight fours in his 65-run knock off 62 balls while towards the end, Duminy’s 54, studded with three fours and a six, piled the misery on the Pakistan bowlers.

For Pakistan, skipper Afridi and Wahab Riaz, the young left arm fast bowler who replaced Umar Gul, took two wickets each.

Graeme Smith, who did not play, said he was disappointed that a great innings from Ingram and the rest of the batting displays went in vain.

”We dominated through the 50 overs of batting and also through the 34 overs of bowling,” Smith said. ”It was only in the last 16 overs that Razzaq took the game away from us. You can’t do anything when someone like Razzaq hits the ball so cleanly and so often.

”There have been a few positives and we will also work out a plan, especially the bowling at the death.”

Smith, who is nursing a finger injury which he suffered when a Shoaib Akhtar ball hit him in Friday’s first ODI, and Jacques Kallis, who is still recovering from a viral infection, both sat out the match. Robin Peterson and Albe Morkel came into the lineuip, with Johan Botha standing in as captain.

The ODI series now moves to Dubai where the remaining three ODIs and the first test will be played. The two teams meet in the third ODI on Tuesday. – AP

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