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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Tanya Aldred and James Wallace

South Africa beat Pakistan by one wicket: Cricket World Cup 2023 – as it happened

South Africa beat Pakistan by just the one wicket in a thriller in Chennai
South Africa beat Pakistan by just the one wicket in a thriller in Chennai. Photograph: Samuel Rajkumar/Reuters

South Africa go top after thriller in Chennai

It looks like we might have made it, yes, it looks like we’ve made it to the end.

Here’s the match report hot off the wires:

That’s it from us today, it was nice to have a humdinger to awaken the senses. Thanks to Tanya for covering the early stint with the usual aplomb and thanks to you for sticking with us.

The OBO will return tomorrow with Australia v New Zealand - The Battle of the Ditch.



Temba Bavuma speaks:

(Nicholas asks him about the mood in the dressing room)

It’s in a bit chaos at the moment! The guys are enjoying it, I think some of them have been picking up Shamsi. It was a nail-biting finish, if you are a South African fan you are a little bit happier. We haven’t done well in chasing but it will be easier to have those conversations now.

I think obviously we have a blueprint which is batting first… we obviously want a more clinical display with the bat when we chase.

(Asked about player of the match Tabraiz Shamsi)

I’m ecstatic for him. He came in in favourable conditions and exploited them and then with the bat at the end - I think you’ve seen Shamsi on social media gloating about his batting! We needed that today and fortunately for us he came through.”

South Africa sit pretty at the top of the table and have shaken off their near 25 year white ball hoodoo against Pakistan on the biggest stage.


Pakistan Captain Babar Azam looks completely crestfallen:

It’s very disappointing - we fought back well but were ten or fifteen runs short. I think the fast bowlers bowled well but unfortunately the result was not on our side.

Mark Nicholas then asks him about that Rauf/Shamsi DRS decision”

It’s part of the game… it’s disappointing for everyone (the Pakistan fans) we had the opportunity to win this match and stay in the tournament but we missed it. We will try our best in our next three matches and give it our best effort, let’s see where we stand then.”


After three and a half weeks the 2023 Cricket World Cup finally got a thriller.

That was a pulsating final hour or so. Pakistan looked cooked when Markram and Miller were going well with a 70 run partnership - at 206-4 South Africa looked to have it all under control.


Babar Azam and his men never gave it up and scythed their way through the Proteas’ middle and lower order, that Umpires Call on DRS for the Shamsi LBW from Haris Rauf will be played over and over. A bona fide World Cup moment in a tournament that has so far seen very few.

“Phew. There is truth in the saying - be careful in what you wish for – I have no nails left. Kudos to South Africa. Let me lie down.”

OBO stalwart Krishnamoorthy no doubt speaking for many of us.


South Africa win by 1 wicket!

Mohammad Nawaz is given the responsibility of bowling the 48th over. Here we go. A single is clipped off the first ball into the leg side by Shamsi. Four needed and Maharaj on strike. THERE IT IS! South Africa clinch it at the last – a poor ball from Nawaz is steered away by Maharaj for four – the Proteas pip Pakistan at the last.

Close enough for you?

Keshav Maharaj of South Africa
Are you not entertained? Photograph: Matthew Lewis-ICC/ICC/Getty Images


47th over: South Africa 266-9 (Maharaj 4, Shamsi 3) Shamsi uses the face of the bat to run the ball fine and take a single. Risky shot but it pays off. Wasim finishes with two dots to complete his spell. He finishes with 2-50 off his ten.

5 needed for South Africa, 1 wicket for Pakistan.

Mohammed Wasim to bowl his last over. He’s been magnificent today. Gah! He starts with a wide down the leg side. A dot and a single mean South Africa are within one lofty blow of victory.

NOT OUT on Umpires Call! It was clipping the stumps so stays with the on field umpire. That was too close, Pakistan cannot believe it – Rauf falls to his knees when the DRS gives its verdict. 8 runs plays 1 wicket – on we go.

46th over: South Africa 263-9 (Maharaj 4, Shamsi 2)


A yorker is dug out and then Rauf goes up for a HUGE appeal for LBW. Umpire says NOT OUT! It is going upstairs! Am I using too many exclamation marks?!!

Rauf loses his radar and gives away a wide down the leg side! 8 runs needed.

In comes Tabraiz Shamsi, South Africa’s final wicket. Close! Another leading edge is spawned in the air but in the gap – a crucial two runs taken. 9 runs needed…

I’m going to go ball by ball for this – Trade Descriptions be damned!

WICKET! Ngidi c & b Haris Rauf 4 (Pakistan need 1 wicket/South Africa 11 runs!)


Ngidi gets a leading edge and Rauf somehow clings on to the return catch by his shins!

Haris Rauf celebrates after taking the catch on his own bowling to dismiss South Africa's Lungi Ngidi.
Oh, it’s on! Photograph: Mahesh Kumar A/AP


45th over: South Africa 260-8 (Maharaj 4, Ngidi 2) Mohammed Wasim is cramping up badly and Babar isn’t sure he should bowl but the bowler more or less grabs the orb and trudges off to his mark. Maharaj and Ngidi are doing well here, sucking the pressure out of the situation and scampering singles. Gah! Wasim sends down a wide to gift an extra run – Pakistan have been guilty of 19 extras today – my how they would like them back now with their World Cup hopes on the line.

Four off the over, South Africa need 11 more off 30 balls. Pakistan still need to winkle 2 wickets.

“Hello James, is this another We’ll get them in singles game?”

Could well be Matt Doherty, not that South Africa will give a flying fig how they get them now.

44th over: South Africa 256-8 (Maharaj 4, Ngidi 1) No dice for Pakistan. A bit too short from Shaheen and a wide down the leg side gifts another to South Africa. Close! An edge flies safe to short third and Shaheen beats the edge of Maharaj with the final ball of his spell. Well bowled that man, Shaheen came roaring back in his final spell there to get Pakistan back into this game. Just two off the over, but no more wickets - the game hangs by a gossamer thread.

15 runs plays 2 wickets…

43rd over: South Africa 254-8 (Maharaj 3, Ngidi 1) Three singles eked off Mir and crucially no wickets. The spinner is still giving it some flight, my heart goes into my mouth every time he tosses it up there. Two dots to finish. Right, Shaheen is coming on for his final over… this could be Pakistan’s big chance to finish it off.

42nd over: South Africa 251-8 (Maharaj 0, Ngidi 1) Can everybody calm down? There’s very nearly a run out as Ngidi and Maharaj attempt a dicey second run off Shaheen – the throw from the fielder was to the wrong end! Shaheen dots up the end of the over and he has just one left now. Golden arm Usama Mir is going to bowl the next one, he’s snared two crucial wickets and a catch from the subs bench already.

20 runs plays 2 wickets. How are your nerves?


WICKET! Coetzee c Mohammad Rizwan b Shaheen (South Africa 250-8 and in all sorts)

Shaheen strikes! He nicks off Coetzee first ball, Rizwan swallowing the feather behind the stumps. Two wickets needed for Pakistan, South Africa a suddenly gargantuan 21 runs. My days.

Bring me my Rump Trumpet! We wanted a bum squeaker and we’ve got one people – this is not a drill.

Shaheen Afridi of Pakistan celebrates the wicket of Gerald Coetzee of South Africa with team mate Mohammad Rizwan
Oh, boy! Photograph: Matthew Lewis-ICC/ICC/Getty Images


WICKET! Markram c Babar Azam b Usama Mir 91 (South Africa 250-7)

Markram goes! Usama Mir strikes with the second ball of his over, he goes for the big heave but spoons in the air to be well caught by Babar. Maharaj is the new batter and he pats back four dots – wicket maiden for Mir!

41st over: South Africa 250-7 (Coetzee 10, Maharaj 0)

South Africa need 21 runs, Pakistan need three (tail-end, there I said it) wickets.

Usama Mir celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of South Africa's Aiden Markram.
They couldn’t, could they? Photograph: Samuel Rajkumar/Reuters


40th over: South Africa 249-6 (Markram 91, Coetzee 9) Shaheen into his eight over – he hasn’t quite been on the money today when his side really needed him to step up, or rather his batters did after their faltering efforts. Six off the over with a watchful Proteas eye – 22 needed for South Africa, 4 wickets for Pakistan.

39th over: South Africa 243-6 (Markram 88, Coetzee 6) Decent over for South Africa as they get closer to chasing down this tricksy target. Six runs scampered off Rauf. Apologies for the slow updates as my internet buffers in the wilds at an extremely inopportune time!

38th over: South Africa 237-6 (Markram 87, Coetzee 1) Tip of the cap to Mohammad Wasim who has bowled with real heart and skill for his 2-45 off eight overs. Coetzee gets off the mark with a nudge to third and Pakistan manage to keep Markram quiet.

Jansen c Babar Azam b Haris Rauf 20 (South Africa 235-6)

Jansen cloths a Haris Rauf slower ball to Babar at backward point! His cameo comes to an end and there is still work to do. 36 runs plays four wickets – Gerald Coetzee joins Markram at the crease. If they snare Markram now then… BIG IF.

37th over: South Africa 235-6 (Markram 85, Coetzee 0)

Haris Rauf takes the wicket of Jansen!
Haris Rauf takes the wicket of Jansen! Photograph: Ajit Solanki/AP


Marco Jansen glides in the gap at third to pick up a deft four and then launches Haris Rauf down the ground for SIX! Just 36 needed to win for South Africa… BUT what’s this…?

36th over: South Africa 224-5 (Markram 85, Jansen 10) South Africa take back control of the chase. Wasim beats Markram on the outside edge and convinces Babar to send it upstairs but there’s a clear gap between bat and ball so it is a burned review. Four! Markram responds by bunting Wasim back over his head for four and digging out a well directed yorker for a single. That’s the Marco Jansen that duffed up England! The lissom limbed all-rounder swings clean and true for four down the ground.

Just 47 needed for the Proteas.

35th over: South Africa 214-5 (Markram 80, Jansen 5) Close! Super Sub Usama Mir comes back into the attack and nearly gets the breakthrough, Jansen hauling his long frame to the turf to play an ungainly reverse-sweep that creeps over the fielder at backward point.


WICKET! Miller c Mohammad Rizwan b Shaheen Shah (Pakistan 206-5)

HERE. WE. GO. A tiny nick is swallowed by Rizwan behind the stumps! Pakistan dearly needed that. In comes Marco Jansen, if they get him quickly (remember he smoked 75 against England) then it is into the tail we go.

Close! Jansen hangs his bat out like a curtain pole to his first ball. Lucky lad. Next up Shaheen spears one into Jansen’s armpit. Good drama in Chennai. The tall one clings on but it has got a bit squeaky out there. All eyes on Aidan Markram.

34th over: South Africa 208-5 (Markram 78, Jansen 1)

Shaheen Shah Afridi celebrates the wicket of David Miller.
Squeaky bum time in Chennai. Photograph: Matthew Lewis-ICC/ICC/Getty Images


33rd over: South Africa 206-4 (Markram 77, Miller 29) The partnership between Miller and Markram stretches past 70. Will it be the decisive one in the game? Markram looks imperious as he stands tall and crunches Rauf off the back foot for four. Just 65 runs needed for South Africa.

32nd over: South Africa 199-4 (Markram 71, Miller 29) Markram steers Shaheen down to third on the bouce to pick up a single. Miller picks up a single off the next ball and the bowler hits the deck, what’s happened here then? Shaheen is lying prone on the turf… I think it could be cramp. After a sizeable delay the big left-armer is up on his feet and ready to continue. Markram picks three more runs off the over, the partnership grows and the target looms ever closer, Pakistan have to break up this pair to give themselves a sniff. 72 more runs needed or a matter of six wickets.

31st over: South Africa 194-4 (Markram 67, Miller 28) Haris Rauf back into the attack too – he’s got five overs up his sleeve. Eeeesht! A slower ball completely flummoxes Markram who gets a leading edge that just plops short. Rauf has his head in his mitts, this partnership is proving decisive.

30th over: South Africa 191-4 (Markram 64, Miller 26) Here is the lesser spotted Shaheen, he’s got six overs left in the tank and his side need him to prise open the Proteas door. He looks threatening from the off, South Africa are watchful, just two singles and a leg-bye off the over.

Elsewhere: this gives me heavy boots, man.

29th over: South Africa 188-4 (Markram 64, Miller 26) South Africa collect eight off the over and head for a drink feeling confident – they need just 83 more from 21 overs. It is all about wickets, where is Shaheen?

Iftikhar is back into the attack after his brief stint at the start of the innings – ouch – Markram lifts him nonchalantly back over his head for a maximum. Hmmmm.

28th over: South Africa 180-4 (Markram 57, Miller 25) Wasim continues but it could be one over too many for him, in truth he has ZERO luck as eight runs are edged off him through the slip region by the fortunate Miller. Cruel blows for Pakistan, this game is slipping out of view.

27th over: South Africa 168-4 (Markram 56, Miller 16) Miller goes big! Mir just misses his length and the batter gives him the full works. Yeh, that’s a biggun.

26th over: South Africa 161-4 (Markram 56, Miller 10) David Miller is starting to get his gimlet eye in which could spell trouble for Pakistan. A couple of decent saves in the outfield keep him from bunting two boundaries. A well played ramp brings him a single and Markram on strike – he slams the final ball away for four.

Ominous, ominous, lemon, ominous.

25th over: South Africa 154-4 (Markram 52, Miller 7) Shaheen is back on the field, surely his team need him for a burst soon to keep this game alive? Imagine what a couple of toe-breaking-stump-shattering-yorkers could do for this contest. Aidan Markram goes to a half century with a powerful slash through backward point for four.

24th over: South Africa 146-4 (Markram 46, Miller 6) Well bowled Mohammed Wasim, he’s whanging them down at a decent lick and manages to stitch together a maiden, just a solitary leg bye off it. Don’t go anywhere. (Please)

23rd over: South Africa 145-4 (Markram 46, Miller 6) Usama Mir can’t stay out of the action, he gets big turn off the surface and is no doubt buoyed by his remarkable past twenty minutes since coming on as a concussion sub. Close! Markram slices in the air and the ball just ploops over the infield and lands safe. Signs of panic? A single brings Miller on strike… and he pumps a SIX over long on – a sublime strike!


WICKET! Klaasen c Usama Mir b Mohammad Wasim (South Africa 136-4)

Big moment, BIG wicket! Ungainly hack by Klaasen who flaps at a quick ball by Wasim, the subsequent top edge is well caught on the boundary by the super sub Usama Mir!

David Miller strides out to the middle, it’s a wobble, a wobble I tell you.

22nd over: South Africa 136-3 (Markram 43, Miller 0)

Mohammad Wasim celebrates the wicket of Heinrich Klaasen.
Wobbly. Photograph: Gallo Images/Getty Images


21st over: South Africa 134-3 (Markram 42, Klaasen 11) Don’t bowl there! Usama Mir serves up a juicy full toss to Klaasen and the danger man duly boffs it into the stands for SIX. Mir manages to escape the over without too much further damage, nine runs off it. South Africa go in with six gun batters and five bowlers, Jansen is dangerous but doesn’t really want to be left with too much to do with no support around him. That’s why a couple of wickets changes the feel of this match dramatically.

You can see what I’m trying to do can’t you?

20th over: South Africa 125-3 (Markram 42, Klaasen 2) Nawaz into his sixth over, Markram clips to leg and Klaasen gets off the mark with a push to cover. Two more singles makes it four from the over.


WICKET! van der Dussen lbw b Usama Mir 21 (South Africa 121-3)

Scenes. Mir does the business! He traps a lethargic van der Dussen with one that skids on, the ball tracking shows it was umpire’s call and it was given out on the field by Umpire Paul Reiffel. Here we go!

Heinrich Klaasen is the new batter, if Pakistan can winkle him out early… he pats back his first ball.

19th over: South Africa 121-2 (Markram 38, Klaasen)

Usama Mir traps van der Dussen for 21!
Usama Mir traps van der Dussen for 21! Photograph: Mahesh Kumar A/AP


18th over: South Africa 118-2 (van der Dussen 20, Markram 38) Nawaz continues and Pakistan keep a lid on things with just three runs taken off the over. Righto, for the first time in World Cup history (he says overconfidently) a concussion sub is going to have a bowl – Usama Mir is marking out his run. Could he give Pakistan the impetus and breakthrough they need to claw back into this match? Cripes, I really hope so. This nudging and nurdling is killing me.

17th over: South Africa 115-2 (van der Dussen 19, Markram 36) Haris Rauf continues and so does the steady accumulation from South Africa. Pakistan need something to get them going, I don’t think Shaheen is on the pitch since he hurried off after the end of his fourth over. Worrying.

16th over: South Africa 11o-2 (van der Dussen 16, Markram 34) Just three off Nawaz’s over. Pakistan are containing well enough but really they need wickets - two or three in a hurry and this game is right back in the mix*.

*‘If it is to be said. So it be. So it is.’


15th over: South Africa 107-2 (van der Dussen 15, Markram 32) Four singles and a leg bye from Rauf’s first five balls post drinks. The final ball is a doozy that pitches and straightens to leave van der Dussen wafting and beaten.

Elsewhere, you *always knew* Stuart Broad was going to slink off into retirement quietly… he’s got a book out imminently if you hadn’t guessed.

14th over: South Africa 102-2 (van der Dussen 13, Markram 30) Nawaz drops short and is clubbed into the stands for six by Aidan Markram. Brutal. Time for a drink – Pakistan need some rocket fuel and to get rid of the dangerous Markram, South Africa are coasting this at the moment.

Concussion Substitute - Usama Mir is on as a concussion sub as Shadab is now ruled out of the game after he banged his head fielding in the first over. Hope he’s ok.


13th over: South Africa 93-2 (van der Dussen 12, Markram 22) Now then. That is an incredible shot! Get a photo of that pronto! Markram plays an upper cut with an open face to a fast Haris Rauf short ball, he had both of his feet off the ground at the moment of impact and the ball flies all the way over deep third for SIX!

It’s not like Rauf is a slouch…


12th over: South Africa 85-2 (van der Dussen 11, Markram 15) The pendulum swings back towards the Proteas with 11 runs pocketed off Wasim’s latest over (I haven’t seen Shaheen come back on the field FYI) Aidan Markram very much the aggressor, he drives down the ground and then thumps through point for a couple of boundaries.

11th over: South Africa 74-2 (van der Dussen 10, Markram 5) Thunk! Rauf clicks into top gear and leaves a scorch mark on van der Dussen’s helmet with a searing short ball. A short pause for a concussion check and the batter is good to go, he managed to scamper to the non-strikers end to bring Markram on strike… he drives Rauf for a delicious four through cover. The bowler then beats Markram with the final ball of the over and lingers for a sultry stare at the end of the over.

WICKET! Bavuma c Saud Shakeel b Mohammad Wasim (South Africa 67-2)

From nowhere! Temba Bavuma is gone – plinking a short ball in the air off Mohammad Wasim, he got in a real tangle after looking so comfortable at the crease. Simple catch by Saud Shakheel at midwicket. C’mon – let’s have a derriere squeaker today please!

Aidan Markram joins the becalmed van der Dussen in the middle and blocks out his first ball, the last of the over.

10th over: South Africa 67-2 (van der Dussen 9, Markram 0)

Mohammad Wasim celebrates the wicket of South Africa captain Temba Bavuma.
Mohammad Wasim celebrates the wicket of South Africa captain Temba Bavuma. Photograph: R Parthibhan/Shutterstock


9th over: South Africa 66-1 (Bavuma 28, van der Dussen 8) Haris Rauf into the attack, much has been made of his spluttering tournament form so far. Ouch – that won’t help! Bavuma launches his third ball for SIX over midwicket! A dismissive shot from the opener. This South African batting line up is a scary one when it is firing – Aiden Markram, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller and the long levered Marco Jansen all in the hutch waiting. Pakistan need wickets pronto.

8th over: South Africa 57-1 (Bavuma 21, van der Dussen 6) Shaheen keeps Bavuma honest, a couple of fast short deliveries whistle over the diminutive batter’s helmet to pin him onto the back foot, Shaheen then follows up with a slower ball cutter that has Temba groping at thin air outside off. Shot! Bavuma gets on the front foot and drives over cover for four. Didn’t get all of it but got enough. What’s this then? Shaheen leaves/stomps from the field straight after his over finishes… I’ll keep a beady eye on that.

7th over: South Africa 52-1 (Bavuma 17, van der Dussen 5) Bavuma sweeps for four to punch back for the Proteas. Lovely! Next ball the SA skipper lifts over mid off for four with an elegant ease. Nawaz pulls his length back a smidge but Bavuma merely dances out of his crease to the pitch and caresses his third four of the over through midwicket. Lavvly badding.

6th over: South Africa 38-1 (Bavuma 5, van der Dussen 4) Pakistan crank up the pressure cooker. South Africa plundered 30 runs off the first two overs but the last three have gone for just five runs and the loss of de Kock’s wicket. Shaheen has his dander well and truly up (when doesn’t he?) and is hurtling to the crease like a bullet train on Trex covered tracks. Just a single off a van der Dussen inside edge.

Good news on Shadab Khan, he’s up and about and expected to re-take the field after his tumble earlier on.

5th over: South Africa 38-1 (Bavuma 5, van der Dussen 3) Mohammad Nawaz replaces fellow spinner Iftikhar Ahmed and he starts with a tidy over of flighted deliveries on the button. Just three runs collected off it. Shaheen is going to continue from t’other end.

4th over: South Africa 35-1 (Bavuma 4, van der Dussen 1) Woah, Pakistan needed that breakthrough and it was the key man too, de Kock looked in frightening touch but failed to get enough elevation on the pull shot. He stood there in disbelief after the catch had been taken, bush baby eyes blinking ruefully into the middle distance. Rassie van der Dussen is the new batter and gets off the mark from his first ball with a push down the ground. Game on!


WICKET! de Kock c Mohammad Wasim b Shaheen Shah Afridi 24 (Pakistan 34-1)

No records today for de Kock! He smokes a half tracker straight down the throat of the boundary rider on the square leg fence. Pakistan bite back!

Shah Afridi celebrates taking the wicket of Quinton de Kock.
Shah Afridi celebrates taking the wicket of Quinton de Kock. Photograph: R Satish Babu/AFP/Getty Images


3rd over: South Africa 34-0 (Bavuma 4, de Kock 24) Iftikhar calms things down slightly after that pyrotechnic last over for the Proteas. Bavuma is watchful, waiting on the back foot to nudge away for a couple behind square. A further single to each batter makes it four off the over. Pakistan need to pounce early, they need a Shaheen special here.

“Is Maxwell’s record in doubt in the second over?” asks Glenn Reynolds in Namibia. I really think that record is going to be toppled again before the end of the tournament. de Kock in this form could well be the man to do it.

2nd over: South Africa 30-0 (Bavuma 1, de Kock 23) Yikes. Quinton de Kock is in blistering form. “This is artistic stuff!” Yelps Mark Nicholas on the tv commentary as QdK hits his FOURTH boundary of the over off Shaheen. Two cover drives laced on the up through cover are followed by a flash outside off that flies to third over the slips. The fourth - the one that got Nicholas purring more than usual – a sublime clip wide of mid-on.

1st over: South Africa 11-0 (Bavuma 1, de Kock 5) Iftikhar spears the first ball of the over down the leg side for five wides. Ah. Not the start Pakistan were after. Bavuma nudges a single to bring his partner on strike. Shot! What problems against spin? Quinton gets on the front dog and drives handsomely for four.


There’s a lengthy pause here whilst Shadab gets some medical attention. He pulled off some nifty fielding at backward point but seems to have jarred his head on the ground. Worryingly the stretcher is brought on but thankfully Shadab is well enough to walk off, he looks mighty pale and is perhaps a bit concussed.

Here come the South Africa openers, Temba Bavuma and Quinton de Kock. Spin to start, Iftikhar is going to open the bowling with his tweakers. That’s with de Kock in mind even though Bavuma is on strike first up.

The lights are beating down through the inky Chennai sky – it looks hot and humid. At least from where I’m sat in a misty and mellow Northumberland. Pakistan form a huddle and then spread to their positions.

Thanks Tanya and hello all. A sapping four hour stint in the field for the Proteas, can Pakistan capitalise with some early scalps? They need to in order to keep any realistic hopes of progression alive.

The TV shows a mini-documentary about the 1999 Pakistan side and Shoaib Akhtar, serious wheels. As I brew up a quick pre-innings cuppa I’ll just pop these (entertaining) thoughts from the curtain haired speedster here for your delectation. It would be great to see Pakistan come out roaring with the ball eh?


South Africa need 271 to win

A familiar story for Pakistan, of batters getting in but unable to accumulate a big score. Fifties for Saud Shakeel and Babar Azam and a brisk 43 from Shadab Khan add up to a steady but not intimidating total. Pakistan will need their attack to bristle into action, unlike against Afghanistan. It is, though, South Africa this time who have spent a sapping four hours in the heat – will that make a difference? Jim Wallace will guide you through their innings. Thanks for the emails, I’m off to grab lunch – though sadly not the one of Kim Thonger’s dreams. Bye!

Wicket! Mohammad Wasim c de Kock b Ngidi 7 (Pakistan 270 all out)

46.4 overs: Pakistan 270-10 (Haris Rauf 0) Two wides from Ngidi are tucked into Pakistan’s pocket, but that’s their lot as Wasim misses a ramp before getting a kiss of an edge onto an extravagant drive.


46th over: Pakistan 268-9 (Mohammad Wasim 7, Haris Rauf 0) Jansen: a couple of singles then a wide. Nawaz does well to dig out a yorker but can’t resist having a go and edges one into the dusk and down into Miller’s paws. Pakistan’s final pair need to somehow eek something out of the final four.

WICKET! Nawaz c Miller b Jansen 24 (Pakistan 268-9)

Awesome catch by Miller at backward point, watching the swirling ball and collecting it as he slid onto his back.

Miller takes the catch to dismiss Nawaz.
Miller takes the catch to dismiss Nawaz. Photograph: R Parthibhan/Shutterstock


45th over: Pakistan 265-8 (Mohammad Nawaz 23, Mohammad Wasim 6) Shamsi tosses his penultimate ball up, and Wasim shimmies him over long on for six. Shamsi roars at the world in two-fisted disgust. Pakistan live to play another over.

WICKET! Shaheed Shah Afridi c Maharaj b Shamsi 2 (Pakistan 259-8)

Bavuma brings in the slip, and Afridi obliges.

44th over: Pakistan 259-7 (Mohammad Nawaz 23, Shaheen Shah Afridi 2) Jansen returns. Hits Nawaz on the boot, but shakes his head at Bavuma who asks if he wants to review. Only two from the over, until the sixth is a wide, and the seventh – flying past leg stump. The final last ball is flapped over the rope by Nawaz and two becomes eight.

“Many of us are hoping to lunch well today,” taps John Starbuck. “I’m waiting for this innings’ end before tucking into a recently-baked loaf, probably with farm-shop ham and mustard. My wife was able to forget to remember to baguette by taking out the right dough from the freezer last night, so it’s a case of making do, but making do in a most superior way.”


43rd over: Pakistan 251-7 (Mohammad Nawaz 17, Shaheen Shah Afridi 2) A priceless wicket, but a no-ball brings a free hit that Nawaz knocks into the night.

WICKET! Saud Shakeel c de Kock b Shamsi 52 (Pakistan 240-7)

Shamsi follows up a filthy wide with a legbreak that fizzes, Shakeel goes for broke and gets an edge. He’s furious with himself as he trudges off; Shamsi unleashes a double-fisted roar.

Shamsi celebrates after taking the wicket of Shakeel.
Shamsi celebrates after taking the wicket of Shakeel. Photograph: R Satish Babu/AFP/Getty Images


42nd over: Pakistan 239-6 (Saud Shakeel 52, Mohammad Nawaz 9) Nawaz eyes up a short ball and, with a little leap, upper cuts Coetzee neatly for six. Deftly done.

Fifty for Saud Shakeel!

41st over: Pakistan 231-6 (Saud Shakeel 52, Mohammad Nawaz 1) Shakeel collects fifty, diving for the crease, going for the second. Six off Shamsi. In the dug-out, Shaheen Shah Afridi grins and chews gum. Pakistan could do with something special from him after the break.

“Good afternoon Tanya,” hello Kim Thonger.

“I’m sitting in a lovely French establishment in Lamb’s Conduit Street with a coffee, catching up on the Pakistan innings. This place sells some of the finest cheese and cakes known to mankind, and makes me think that what the England side need to snap them out of their malaise is a long lunch in somewhere like this, with aperitifs and digestifs and good wine in between, then a long afternoon nap, at the end of which it will all seem like a bad dream, and they can reset themselves and climb the mountain again. A change is as good as a rest!”

Never mind England, I’ll take that please. Seems more a Baz solution than a Matthew Mott one.

40th over: Pakistan 225-6 (Saud Shakeel 47, Mohammad Nawaz 0 ) The sun starting to drop in Chennai as Shadab is done by the short ball. A cracking innings, 43 off 36, but unable to take it deep into the final ten. Coetzee, dripping in sweat, accepts the plaudits.

WICKET! Shadab Khan c Maharaj b Coetzee 43 (Pakistan 225-6)

Shadab pulls a short ball high, can’t make enough room, and is caught at midwicket.

Khan leaves the field after being dismissed.
Khan leaves the field after being dismissed. Photograph: Ajit Solanki/AP


39th over: Pakistan 222-5 (Saud Shakeel 45, Shadab Khan 42) Ngidi sends down a short fat pie and Shadab rotates the oiled wrists and beats a chasing Bavuma to the rope. No more boundaries but eight from the over. Run predictor suggests just over 300 – they’d do well to get that, but a more better position for Pakistan than looked likely ten overs ago.

38th over: Pakistan 214-5 (Saud Shakeel 44, Shadab Khan 35) Shadab, again, a flick for four, velveteen. Then Shakeel’s turn: a cheeky step and scoop to the rope. Coetzee shakes his head: 13 from the over.

37th over: Pakistan 201-5 (Saud Shakeel 37, Shadab Khan 29)Ngidi replaces Maharaj and brings some control. The Pakistan 200 up with a single.

36th over: Pakistan 198-5 (Saud Shakeel 36, Shadab Khan 27) Shadab is on the ground with cramp, guzzles liquid, then the physio forces his legs into some flexible stretches. After four or five minutes, we restart. Coetzee with the ball. Four – a gorgeous, wristy loft and pick up by Saud Shakeel. Four more, hollered over the midwicket boundary. Pakistan starting to rock.

35th over: Pakistan 189-5 (Saud Shakeel 28, Shadab Khan 26) Maharaj, stubble, worries in. Gorgeous shot by Saud Shakeel, quick steps down the pitch and leans the ball over long off for four. In those gorgeously canopied and shaded stands, the crowd are goaded into enthusiasm by the DJ.

Shakeel plays a shot.
Shakeel plays a shot. Photograph: Matthew Lewis-ICC/ICC/Getty Images


34th over: Pakistan 183-5 (Saud Shakeel 23, Shadab Khan 25) South Africa flying through these middle overs, Shamsi in spearmint boots. Shadab has tasted blood, takes what looks like too large a stride forward, but he knows what he’s doing, sends the ball high and over mid off for six.

33rd over: Pakistan 174-5 (Saud Shakeel 21, Shadab Khan 18) Shadab ramps Maharaj for a cheeky four. Then slams the front foot and pulls him, with vim, for SIX. Delicious intent.

32nd over: Pakistan 148-5 (Saud Shakeel 20, Shadab Khan 7) Had to answer the door and find a dog towel, but in the meantime Pakistan squeezed eight from Shamsi’s over, including a boundary for Shakeel.

31st over: Pakistan 148-5 (Saud Shakeel 14, Shadab Khan 3) Shadab restarts after the drinks break by opting for an impossible single -swiftly sent back by Shakeel. He then pulls and misses twice in succession – this has the air of an innings limping to a conclusion. Runs at last, a squirt, four reduced to two by some superb fielding on the rope by VDD.

30th over: Pakistan 148-5 (Saud Shakeel 14, Shadab Khan 3) Shamsi, animated, nods here, points there. Three singles, three dot balls and a DRINKS break.

29th over: Pakistan 148-5 (Saud Shakeel 13, Shadab Khan 1) Shadab must face Jansen immediately, off the mark with an unconvincing single. A wide brings some relief for Pakistan, South Africa’s eleventh extra, and Shakeel picks up four from the last ball.

28th overs: Pakistan 141-5 (Saud Shakeel 8, Shadab Khan 0) Babar can’t believe it, and a mega blow for Pakistan, whose innings hits the wobble stage.

WICKET! Babar Azam c de Kock b Shamsi 50 (Pakistan 141-5)

There’s a splinter of a spike on the replay – fabulous review by Bavuma and great take behind the stumps.

Azam is caught by de Kock, off the bowling of Shamsi.
Azam is caught by de Kock, off the bowling of Shamsi. Photograph: Samuel Rajkumar/Reuters
Azam walks after losing his wicket.
Azam walks after losing his wicket. Photograph: Samuel Rajkumar/Reuters


27.5 overs: Pakistan 141-4 (Babar Azam 50, Saud Shakeel 8) Shakeel sweeps the square-shouldered Shamsi, stocky for a spinner, touch of the bar bouncer in his tread. Four fizzes over the rope. Babar kneels down for the sweep but is beaten. It looks as if he misses it, de Kock isn’t that excited, but with one second left, South Africa go for the REVIEW…..


Fifty for Babar Azam!

27th over: Pakistan 136-4 (Babar Azam 50, Saud Shakeel 3) A nice reception from the good crowd for Babar’s fifty, which he picks up with a single off the boot, but he barely raises his bat. Saud can only pick up a single from five balls of Ngidi.

26th over: Pakistan 134-4 (Babar Azam 49, Saud Shakeel 2) A no ball, but Babar can only take a single off the free hit. Another rebuild required here from Pakistan, with nearly half the innings left.

WICKET! Iftikhar c Klaasen b Shamsi 21 (Pakistan 129-4)

Going for glory on one leg, but hits too high and not long enough, safely into the hands of Klaasen on the rope. Iftikhar punches the air with happy fury. Iftikhar bangs his bat on the ground in disgust.

Iftikhar is caught out by Klaasen.
Iftikhar is caught out by Klaasen. Photograph: Samuel Rajkumar/Reuters


25th over: Pakistan 129-3 (Babar Azam 47, Iftikhar 21) Ngidi, who has spent sometime off the field, returns, and immediately leaks runs as Iftikhar loops him through midwicket for four. The crowd bubble at the prospect of a Babar fifty, but he flirts with danger dabbing behind only just short of the keeper. At the half way stage, Pakistan’s run rate is 5.16.

24th over: Pakistan 124-3 (Babar Azam 47, Iftikhar 16) Singles, singles: Babar lucky to escape trying to flambe a legbreak, and missing.

23rd over: Pakistan 120-3 (Babar Azam 45, Iftikhar 14) Maharaj again. A mix-up in the middle brings a run-out chance, but Babar is well in, bat grounded to the text-book . A superb bit of fielding by Bavuma denies Babar a single, but he rocks back next ball and roasts the ball over midwicket for SIX.

22nd over: Pakistan 113-3 (Babar Azam 38, Iftikhar 14) Shamsi, green towel in his trouser elastic, left arm slingy ation. Only singles again for Pakistan. Where will they tuck in?

21st over: Pakistan 111-3 (Babar Azam 37, Iftikhar 13) Iftikhar hot steps down the pitch and flambes Maharaj into the blue and over the boundary. A fistful of singles follow.


20th over: Pakistan 102-3 (Babar Azam 36, Iftikhar 5) Apologies, Coetzee does not have a pony tail, it is the tail of his headband hanging off the back of his head. The cameras are reluctant to give us close ups of the bowlers today. One sails past Babar and is called wide over his head, another is very wide on the legs, Babar gets a bat to it but just for a single. No fireworks from the promoted Iftikhar yet.


19th over: Pakistan 97-3 (Babar Azam 34, Iftikhar 3) Babar eyes up Maharaj and sizzles his first through midwicket for four. A handful of singles in the sun.

18th over: Pakistan 90-3 (Babar Azam 28, Iftikhar 2) Coetzee, headband, baby ponytail, low-kneed approach, in the build of Klusener. Pakistan can only manage two.

“I am actually at the M.A Chidambaram stadium watching the match,” writes Arunachalam Vaidyanathan, “and have to say am pleasantly surprised by the atmosphere. The crowd (obviously) is rooting for South Africa but Pakistan have a fair but of support too especially for Babar. Just hope for a close game.”

That’s good to hear.

17th over: Pakistan 88-3 (Babar Azam 27, Iftikhar 1) Just two from it.

16th over: Pakistan 86-3 (Babar Azam 26, Iftikhar 0) A huge blow for Pakistan, Rizwan was in the mood for irritating kingdom building. Iftikhar walks out, shovelled up the order with instructions, presumably, to get hitting. The ball before Rizwan was done by a heavy bouncer, Babar nearly went too, pulling blind, eyes down, bat skywards, for a lucky single.


WICKET! Rizwan c de Kock b Coetzee 31 (South Africa 86-3)

The big one! Rizwan flies at a bouncer but can only top edge the short ball behind. Coetzee roars.

Coetzee celebrates the dismissal of Rizwan.
Coetzee celebrates the dismissal of Rizwan. Photograph: Ajit Solanki/AP


15th over: Pakistan 84-2 (Babar Azam 25, Rizwan 30) Rizwan pushes the door ajar, plants his front leg, lowers his head, and sweeps Maharaj against the spin for six. Glorious.


14th over: Pakistan 77-2 (Babar Azam 25, Rizwan 23) Markram trots in. Pakistan need to milk him. A delicate late-lunch cut drags the fielder all the way to the rope and brings Rizwan three. Ah, the reason Rabada is not playing because he has a lower-back spasm.


13th over: Pakistan 71-2 (Babar Azam 23, Rizwan 19) Maharaj keeps it tight – just one from it.


12th over: Pakistan 70-2 (Babar Azam 22, Rizwan 19) Spin from both ends. Babar sweeps at a wide one from Markram and gets a kiss of a touch for four. On commentary, Waqar Younis says how bad Babar generally is at sweeping “likes the feel of the full face of the bat.”


11th over: Pakistan 63-2 (Babar Azam 16, Rizwan 18) Maharaj replaces Jansen: Babar taps a single, Rizwan doesn’t wait to get his eye in, immediately sweeps him for four.


10th over: Pakistan 58-2 (Babar Azam 15, Rizwan 14) I take it back about the compress, Rizwan does one of those cross legged dance swipes, designed for maximum irritation, and fires Markram over cover for four.

9th over: Pakistan 53-2 (Babar Azam 14, Rizwan 10) Babar and Rizwan start the rebuild, and it looks as if Babar has, temporarily at least, managed to apply .a cold compress to Rizwan. A sloppy old misfield by Bavuma in the covers, turns a single into three, and then Rizwan drives Jansen gorgeously for four. Time for a bowling change?

8th over: Pakistan 44-2 (Babar Azam 11, Rizwan 5) Jansen calms things down with a calm over containing just two singles.

7th over: Pakistan 42-2 (Babar Azam 10, Rizwan 4) Rizwan, with immaculate suncream lipstick, is dropped first ball -if it can be called that- as he pushes forward and the leaping Jansen can’t hold on with outstretched hand in his follow through. Rizwan throws the kitchen sink at the next, an outrageous hoik that is aimed towards long on but instead flies over the keeper for four. All sorts of posturing follows between Rizwan and Jansen, and Rizwan scatters more tinder by signalling that Jansen’s final ball should have been a wide.

WICKET! Imam-ul-Haq c Klassen b Jansen 12 (Pakistan 38-2)

Done by the slower ball! Furious with himself, flies for the drive but can only edge to deep slip. And Jansen has both openers in his pocket.

6th over: Pakistan 38-1 (Babar Azam 10, Imam ul Haq 12) South Africa handing out a few sweeties here: Ngidi throws in a wide, then a another juicy one on the legside tucked into by Imam, ferociously cut to the rope. An overthrow brings one, then Babar rises onto his toes to cut four more.

Imam cuts the ball to the boundary.
Imam cuts the ball to the boundary. Photograph: Samuel Rajkumar/Reuters


5th over: Pakistan 28-1 (Babar Azam 6, Imam ul Haq 7) Enter Babar, who is kindly greeted by two no balls and two free hits from Jansen. One is clattered through midwicket for four, the other shovelled through extra cover for a couple.

WICKET! Shaffique c Ngidi b Jansen 9 (Pakistan 20-1)

Shaffique eyes up and takes on the short ball, but hasn’t got enough behind it and Ngidi gracefully takes the catch on the rope in the shade of the stands..

Ngidi takes a catch to dismiss Shafique.
Ngidi takes a catch to dismiss Shafique. Photograph: Samuel Rajkumar/Reuters


4th over: Pakistan 20-0 (Abdullah Shaffique 9, Imam ul Haq 7) A fierce cut by Shaffique off Ngidi’s first ball brings a boundary. Three more off the boots, then an almost dangerously sharp single. The over concludes with a nasty bouncer, but nine from it.

A gorgeous looking stadium – two of the stands at least are multi-storied, topped by white roofs – like something a child might make out of playmobil to raise their spirits on a dreary morning.

3rd over: Pakistan 11-0 (Abdullah Shaffique 1, Imam ul Haq 6) A bouncer from Jansen flies over the top of Shafique, and de Kock’s outstretched glove, to the rope. Byes given not wides. Shaffique belatedly off the mark with a single.


2nd over: Pakistan 6-0 (Abdullah Shaffique 0, Imam ul Haq 6) The stockier Ngidi, black headband sitting around his head like a belt, charges in. Pakistan’s innings gets going with a cut for two by Imam, followed by four whipped off his heels from the last ball,

1st over: Pakistan 0-0 (Abdullah Shaffique 0, Imam ul Haq 0 ) Marco Jansen stretches to his full six foot eight, a dancer’s approach and a delicate delivery. Lovely length straight away, and a maiden to start.

Jansen in action.
Jansen in action. Photograph: Samuel Rajkumar/Reuters


Anthems over, here come the players!

We get an overhead glimpse of the stadium, which is gloriously only a puma’s leap from the beach, looking out over the Bay of Bengal. Here comes Shaun Pollock with the trophy, as the teams mill about before the anthems.

An early email. “Good morning Tanya.” Hello Krishnamoorthy v!

“Could you tell me if you are serious about the shoulder pads? (I am not seeing any live coverage, trusting the ever reliable OBO)

“A XXL tee would have been cheaper if the purpose was to hide that paunch.”

I only had a five second glimpse but he had suspiciously square and large shoulders to go alongside the XXL-size personality.

It looks hot out there, the crowd fanning themselves with their six signs. Bavuma said that he too would have batted first on a tasty-looking pitch.


Two changes for Pakistan: Hasan Ali is ill and is replaced by ,Mohammad Wasim; Mohammad Nawaz replaces Usama Mir.

Pakistan XI: Imam-ul-Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Wasim, Haris Rauf.

Three changes for South Africa: Bavuma returns, alongside Shamsi and Ngidi – Hendricks, Coetzee and, to some surprise, Rabada sit in the dugout.

South Africa XI: Temba Bavuma (c), Quinton de Kock (wk), Rassie van der Dussen, Aiden Markram, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj, Tabraiz Shamsi, Gerald Coetzee, Lungi Ngidi

Pakistan win the toss and will bat!

Ravi Shastri in shades and shoulder pads introduces the captains. Babar calls correctly and choses to bat first in a sultry Chennai, and says he is is feeling comfortable about his batting and looking forward to being out there.


Good morning! Now that England have toppled their crown into India’s equivalent of the Wash, time to turn to one of the strong pretenders: South Africa. The men in green and sand have lost just one of their games – an embarrassment by the Netherlands – and are purring sweetly toward the semi-finals.

All the cogs are freshly oiled, all the springs tightly sprung, with captain Temba Bavuma returning after his replacement Reeza Hendricks did just dandy against England: the runs, they just keep on flowing.

They play the other men in green, Pakistan, languishing in sixth and with three defeats in their recent out box. Pakistan have also been hit by an ominous vote of confidence by the board – who urged fans to continue supporting them on the one hand, while with the other putting the boot into captain Babar Azam and coach Inzamam ul Haq. Pakistan need Babar to suddenly fire, alongside the strangely subdued seam attack – another loss and they would be relying on a succession of banana skins hitting all the teams above them. A team that historically thrives on unlikely comebacks, Pakistan’s campaign proper must start now.

Play starts at 9.30am BST, the forecast in Chennai is for sun and cloud – 31 degrees and with high humidity.

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