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Proteas set 309 at Home of Cricket

Fakhar Zaman (44 off 50) and Imam-ul-Haq (44 off 58) put on 98 for the opening partnership as they cashed in on lengths that were far too full from Kagiso Rabada (0/65 from 10 overs) and Lungisani Ngidi (3/65 from 9 overs).

Picture: @CricketWorldCup/Twitter

LONDON - A belligerent 89 off just 59 balls from Haris Sohail catapulted Pakistan to 308/7 against South Africa at Lord’s.

He struck nine fours and three sixes in an innings that lit up the Home of Cricket in north London and sent the mostly Pakistani crowd into a frenzy. He was aided by contributions across the board which ensured Pakistan kept the scoring rate up

Fakhar Zaman (44 off 50) and Imam-ul-Haq (44 off 58) put on 98 for the opening partnership as they cashed in on lengths that were far too full from Kagiso Rabada (0/65 from 10 overs) and Lungisani Ngidi (3/65 from 9 overs).

The desire to get the ball up to the batsmen was commendable as the new ball pair went in search of swing through the air, but they made it far too easy for the Pakistani batsmen to lean forward and drive down the ground or through the covers.

Imran Tahir (2/41 from 10 overs), the 40-year-old leg spinner, was introduced to the attack and removed both openers inside five overs. He had Fakhar caught at slip by Hashim Amla after a poorly judged premeditated reverse paddle sweep and then pulled off a remarkable one-handed catch off his own bowling to send Imam-ul-Haq back to the shed.

Babar Azam (69 off 80) was joined by Mohammad Hafeez (20 off 33) and they knocked off 45 runs for the third wicket before Aiden Markram’s (1/22 from 4 overs) part-timers ended their union. A full toss whacked Hafeez right in front and was rightly adjudged lbw in the 30th over.

The score read 143/3 when Sohail joined Azam and the run rate ratcheted up. The 200 mark was crossed in the 38th over. Then, as if to add insult to injury, Azam thrashed Chris Morris (0/61 from 9 overs) for back to back boundaries with sumptuous strokes either side of the wicket.

With 10 overs to go Pakistan had a formidable foundation from which to launch an attack at 217/3 but Azam would not be there to see them home. A returning Andile Phehlukwayo (1/49 from 8 overs) brought out an expansive lofted drive that went straight down Ngidi’s throat at deep cover.

Sohail kept going and he reached his milestone off just 38 balls with a deftly played uppercut towards the third man boundary off Morris in the 43rd over.

He kept going and together with Imad Wasim (23 off 15) put on the second fastest 50-run partnership of the World Cup from just 26 deliveries.

Ngidi removed Wasim in the 48th over, caught by substitute JP Duminy in the deep, before knocking over What Riaz in the 50th. He would also add Sohail to his tally after finding the top edge for a comfortable catch for de Kock with two balls left of the innings.

South Africa will need to produce a performance with the bat that has thus far eluded them in this tournament to secure victory on Sunday.

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