September 29, 2012 1:53:50 am
Umar Gul had an unusual day. So used to marking his bowling run-up at the start of the innings,the Pakistan pacer was patrolling the fence for the first 16 overs when the South Africans batted. Known for his economical bowling,he proved to be most expensive bowler for his team.
Having collected several Man of the Match awards for dream spells in his long career,he got one for his match-winning 32 from 17 balls cameo in Pakistans low-scoring Super Eights match.
Chasing 135 for a win on a tricky track,where the ball turned square,Pakistan were 76/7 when Gul joined the last recognised batsman,his namesake Umar Akmal at the crease.
Guls sweet timing and his clean swing saw him hit two fours and three sixes to turn the game on its head. Pakistan,from brink of defeat,was now on the brink of an unexpected victory. The former champions needed 9 from the final over when Guls dramatic day came to an end.
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A Morne Morkels full toss,that was dutifully dispatched over the fence by Umar,proved to be South Africas final and decisive folly as Pakistan lived to tell the tale about their thrilling two-wicket win. The Umar & Umar 8th wicket stand of 49 came in 4.3 overs.
Earlier,South Africa paid dearly for a couple of puzzling decisions that skipper AB de Villiers made. After opting to bat first,the hard-hitter dropped himself way down the order. Coming in at no.6 he got to the crease when just six overs left.
And while defending the modest target on a spin-friendly pitch he didnt use his best slow bowler Johan Bothas full quota of overs.
This after Botha,like Saeed Ajmal,had started with a wicket maiden. Botha bowled just two overs for ten runs while part-time offie JP Duminy was discontinued after he conceded just five runs from two overs.
The R Premadasa pitch,that promised good carry in the pacer in past games in this tournament,changed track. It was a day when spinners called the shots for most parts of the game. In terms of quantity,Pakistan were way better than the South Africa and that proved to be difference between the two teams.
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