Jason Humphries - SuperSport
Abu Dhabi - Lonwabo Tsotsobe turned in a career-best bowling performance as South Africa crushed Pakistan by eight wickets in the first one-day international at the Sheik Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Friday.
Left-arm swing bowler Tsotsobe finished with the wonderful figures of four for 27 off 10 overs, with three maidens thrown in for good measure, as Pakistan were dismissed for 203 with six balls of their innings remaining.
South Africa were rarely troubled during their run-chase as half-centuries from AB de Villiers and Jacques Kallis saw the Proteas to 207 for two in the 41st over.
Despite the convincing win South Africa will be concerned that Graeme Smith and Kallis were both forced to retire hurt.
Kallis succumbed to cramp but Smith was forced to retire after being struck on his left hand by a Shoaib Akhtar bouncer.
Considering the number of hand injuries Smith has suffered during his career the Proteas’ skipper will hope that no serious damage was caused by the blow.
The star of the show was undoubtedly Tsotsobe who showed tremendous control while he achieved just enough swing with the new ball to keep the batsmen honest.
At times he extracted disconcerting bounce while his clever use of the slower ball caused consternation in the Pakistan ranks as the bowler eclipsed his previous best ODI figures of four for 50, achieved on debut against Australia in Perth in 2009.
The hosts, after winning the toss and electing to bat, had looked well in control of proceedings as they reached 140 for one in the 31st over.
But, on a pitch that became slower and lower as the innings wore on, Pakistan proceeded to collapse in stunning fashion as they lost nine wickets for 63 runs in the space of 86 balls.
Mohammed Hafeez and Younis Khan had looked untroubled as they combined for a second-wicket stand of 114 off 22.5 overs before Hafeez chopped a delivery from off-spinner Johan Botha to Charl Langeveldt at short third man.
The right-handed Hafeez scored a well-paced 68 off 84 balls while Younis weighed in with 54 off 75 deliveries.
Seventeen runs after Hafeez’s dismissal, Botha trapped Younis lbw before Tsotsobe ripped through Pakistan’s middle-order.
The tall bowler removed Misbah-ul-Haq (14), caught at deep square leg, and Shahid Afridi (one), caught at mid-off, in the space of four deliveries with both men falling to cleverly disguised slower balls.
Abdul Razzaq (two) was Tsotsobe’s next victim when the right-handed batsman inside-edged a delivery that bounced on him just a touch with keeper De Villiers diving to his left to take the catch.
Tsotsobe, who shared the new ball, also picked up the first wicket of the match when he had Asad Rafiq (19) caught by Hashim Amla at mid-on after the right-handed batsman mistimed a pull shot.
Rafiq and Hafeez put on 26 runs for the first wicket, the second biggest partnership of the innings.
Botha proved to be the perfect foil for Tsotsobe as the spinner finished with two for 40 off 10 overs while swing bowler Langeveldt picked up two for 47 from his 10 overs.
Amla (35) and Smith (18) made a solid start for South Africa with an opening stand of 29 before Smith was forced out of the contest.
Amla was troubled by Akhtar’s pace early in his innings but he was just starting to look comfortable at the wicket before he was trapped leg-before by off-spinner Saeed Ajmal.
With the score on 70 for one De Villiers joined Kallis at the crease and the duo put on 77 runs.
De Villiers was in fluent form as he reached his half-century off 52 deliveries but one ball later he was on his way back the pavilion when he offered up a sharp caught-and-bowled effort to Ajmal.
Kallis battled with dehydration early on in his innings but he fought his way to 66 off 88 balls, his 79th ODI fifty, before he had to be helped off the field after collapsing with cramp.
Ajmal was the most successful Pakistan bowler on the night with figures of two for 42 while leg-spinner Afridi turned in a tidy spell, conceding 36 runs off his 10 overs.
Asad Shafiq c Amla b Tsotsobe 19
Mohammad Hafeez c Langeveldt b Botha 68
Younis Khan lbw b Botha 54
Misbah-ul-Haq c Ingram b Tsotsobe 14
Fawad Alam b Langeveldt 9
Shahid Afridi c Smith b Tsotsobe 1
Abdul Razzaq c de Villiers b Tsotsobe 2
Zulqarnain Haider not out 12
Umar Gul c de Villiers b Morkel 3
Saeed Ajmal run out 3
Shoaib Akhtar c Miller b Langeveldt 6
Extras: (lb4, w8) 12
Fall of wickets: 1-26 (Shafiq), 2-140 (Hafeez), 3-157 (Younis), 4-165 (Haq), 5-167 (Afridi), 6-173 (Razzaq), 7-177 (Alam), 8-183 (Gul), 9-195 (Ajmal)
Bowling: Langeveldt 10-1-47-2 (3w), Tsotsobe 10-3-27-4 (1w), Morkel 8-0-32-1 (2w), Kallis 6-0-22-0, Botha 10-0-40-2 (1w), Duminy 5-0-31-0 (1w)
G. Smith retired hurt 18
Hashim Amla lbw b Ajmal 35
J. Kallis retired hurt 66
AB de Villiers c and b Ajmal 51
JP. Duminy not out 10
C. Ingram not out 12
Extras: (lb7, nb2, w6) 15
Total: (for two wickets) 207
Fall of wickets: 1-70 (Amla), 2-147 (de Villiers)
Did not bat: D. Miller, J. Kallis, J. Botha, M. Morkel, C. Langeveldt, L. Tsotsobe
Bowling: Akhtar 8-0-46-0 (2nb, 2w), Gul 6.3-0-34-0, Hafeez 1-0-14-0, Afridi 10-0-36-0 (2w), Ajmal 10-1-42-2 (1w), Razzaq 4-0-28-0 (1w)
Result: South Africa won by eight wickets
Umpires: Asad Rauf (PAK) and Rodney Tucker (AUS)
Tv umpire: Zameer Haider
Match referee: Andy Pycroft (ZIM)