Keshav Maharaj fires South Africa to nerve-shredding win against Pakistan; The World Cup continues on Saturday with a double-header as Australia take on New Zealand before Netherlands face Bangladesh live on Sky Sports Cricket from 5.30am
Keshav Maharaj hit the winning runs as South Africa beat Pakistan by one wicket to go top of the table at the Cricket World Cup
Keshav Maharaj was the hero as he nudged South Africa to a thrilling one-wicket victory against Pakistan to move top of the World Cup standings on Friday.
Aiden Markram cracked a crucial 91 runs from 93 balls as South Africa broke their 24-year World Cup jinx against Pakistan and inched closer to securing a semi-final place with their fifth win in six matches.
With the Proteas nine down, tailender Maharaj swept the winning boundary with 16 balls left to seal victory and send his side top of the table.
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South Africa’s Aiden Markram survives an almost exact copy of Jonny Bairstow’s dismissal in this year’s Ashes, as Mohammad Rizwan chooses not to appeal
Set 271 to win, South African lost opener Quinton de Kock – the World Cup’s leading runscorer – and captain Temba Bavuma to slip to 67 for two.
It became 136 for four after Rassie van der Dussen and Heinrich Klaasen fell for 21 and 12 respectively as Pakistan fought hard against a batting unit that has been in formidable form this tournament.
When David Miller and Marco Jansen – moments after launching Haris Rauf down the ground for six – departed the Proteas still needed 36 to win with four wickets remaining.
Image: Aiden Markram fired 91 runs from 93 balls to help South Africa to victory against Pakistan at the Cricket World Cup
Usama Mir then got the prized wicket of Markram for 91, and he was quickly followed back to the changing rooms by Gerald Coetzee, caught behind off Shaheen Shah Afridi (three for 45), with 21 now the target.
A brilliant one-handed caught and bowled from Rauf did for Lungi Ndidi with 11 required and, three runs later, number 11 Tabraiz Shamsi survived the narrowest of leg-before reviews.
But Maharaj made an invaluable seven not out, including the winning boundary, to get South Africa fell over the line.
Earlier, when Pakistan captain Babar Azam departed for 50 his side were wobbling at 141 for five.
But a run-a-ball 52 from Saud Shakeel led the counter-attack along with Shadab Khan, who made 43.
However, Shamsi finished with four for 60 as Pakistan were dismissed for 270 from 46.4 overs.
South Africa’s fifth win lifts them to the top of table, level on 10 points with hosts India having played a game more, while Pakistan’s semi-final hopes are hanging by a thread after a fourth defeat.
The latest standings
The Cricket World Cup continues with a double-header on Saturday as Australia take on New Zealand (5.30am on Sky Sports Cricket, 6am start) and the Netherlands play Bangladesh (9am on Sky Sports Mix, 9.30am start).
England are next in action against hosts India on Sunday (8am on Sky Sports Cricket, 8.30am start), with their qualification hopes in the balance. Sri Lanka are next in action on Monday and can boost their semi-final hopes against Afghanistan (8am on Sky Sports Cricket, 8.30am start). Stream the Cricket World Cup and more top sport with NOW.