By Adam Williams |BBC Sport|
|ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, Lord’s, London|
|Pakistan 308-7 (50 overs): Haris 89, Babar 69, Ngidi 3-64|
|South Africa 259-9 (50 overs): Du Plessis 63, Wahab 3-46, Shadab 3-50|
|Pakistan won by 49 runs; S Africa eliminated|
|Scorecard; Table; Schedule|
South Africa were knocked out the World Cup as Pakistan inflicted a fifth defeat on the struggling Proteas to keep their own semi-final hopes alive.
In the must-win meeting, the 1992 champions won by 49 runs to register just their second win from six games.
Haris Sohail’s entertaining 89 and 69 from Babar Azam saw Pakistan make 308-7 after they won the toss at Lord’s.
Despite 63 from captain Faf du Plessis, South Africa never got up with the required rate and finished on 259-9.
Beaten semi-finalists in 2015, South Africa were ranked fourth coming into the tournament.
But a wretched showing, with just a solitary victory against Afghanistan to date, means they now have just pride to play for in their remaining two games, against Sri Lanka on Friday and Australia on 6 July.
Pakistan, meanwhile, who have flitted between impressive and woeful in their six games so far, can still make the semi-finals themselves after climbing two places to seventh.
They may still need to win all three of their remaining games, starting against group leaders New Zealand at Edgbaston on Wednesday, and hope other results go their way.
|World Cup group table|
Top four go through to semi-finals
Babar and Haris propel Pakistan
After Saturday’s two World Cup games had served up a couple of last-over nail-biters there was hope a sell-out Lord’s crowd would be treated to a similar story.
Ultimately, however, they witnessed a fairly comfortable victory for a Pakistan team which could yet pip England to a semi-final place.
Well supported by their vibrant fans, they set off like a train, their top order seemingly determined to put in a strong performance after the previous Sunday’s heavy loss against fierce rivals India.
Fakhar Zaman and Imam ul-Haq (both 44) put on an entertaining 81 for the first wicket.
Fakhar, however, was handed a reprieve on 28 in a controversial moment that saw a catch at deep square leg claimed by Imran Tahir given not out.
It was a decision that split the opinions of players, pundits and supporters inside the ground, but there was not enough definitive evidence for third umpire Chris Gaffaney to overturn the on-field umpire’s assertion the ball had bounced into the 40-year-old’s hands.
Tahir (2-41) was to get a degree of revenge, though, claiming the wickets of both openers, including Imam with a brilliant one-handed low catch off his own bowling.
Tahir was the only threat as a largely blunt South Africa bowling attack was unable to remove Pakistan’s middle order after that, allowing Sarfaraz Ahmed’s side licence to go big in the latter stages.
Their last 10 overs saw 90 runs added as they raced from 218-3 to 308-7.
Haris was the chief tormentor, hitting nine fours and three sixes in his 59-ball 89 as he shared quickfire partnerships of 81 from 70 balls with Babar and 71 off 40 with Imad Wasim.
Proteas’ fire fails to ignite
South Africa’s already difficult task became even more problematic just seven balls into their run chase.
Mohammad Amir’s first ball from the Pavilion End cut back enough down the famous slope to trap Hashim Amla on the front pad, a not out decision being overturned on review.
Opening partner Quinton de Kock had already survived falling for a first-ball duck when Wahab spilled a chance at mid-on off Hafeez.
For a while, the wicketkeeper looked like he would make Pakistan pay as he and skipper Du Plessis laid a platform with a second-wicket stand of 87.
But just as Tahir’s low catch at deep square leg had gone against them earlier in the game, there was to be no reprieve for De Kock when Imam took a two-handed grab off Shadab Khan, also at deep square leg.
De Kock’s failure to produce a match-winning innings was replicated by Du Plessis.
His failure to find a consistent run-scoring tempo, despite registering his highest score of the tournament so far, came to an end when he presented a simple catch to Sarfaraz off a mistimed pull shot.
With just over 20 overs to go, it left his side still needing 173 at almost nine an over.
When they needed a lead actor to steal the show, all they got were cameo roles.
Rassie van der Dussen (36) and David Miller (31) both cleared the ropes but Amir (2-49) and Wahab (3-46) ensured South Africa fell well short.
‘We’re making the same mistakes over and over’ – what they said
South Africa captain Faf du Plessis: “It was frustrating, I feel we keep making the same mistakes over and over again.
“It started with the bowling today. It was a below-par performance and 30 runs too many to concede.
“It was the same thing with the bat with some good starts and then people losing their wickets at crucial stages and being able to build partnerships.
“I feel like I’m saying the same thing over and over and it’s frustrating.”
Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed: “We made some changes today for the good of the team. Haris Sohail came in, he was hungry to play in the match and the way he batted was a turning point. You see Jos Buttler play that type of innings so the way he played was fantastic.
“We have to work hard on our fielding, we dropped so many chances today. So we have to work hard on that because all our matches are very crucial.
“It was a complete bowling effort, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Amir, Shaheen Afridi all did their bit. That is what has been missing in previous matches.”