HAROON SIDDIQUI - Pakistan later-order batsmen helped Pakistan snatch victory from the jaws of defeat as South Africa failed to break their Pakistan jinx, in the World Twenty20 Cup Super Eight match at the R Premadasa Stadium Colombo.

South Africa played three matches in the World Twenty20 and lost all the three to Pakistan. Irresponsible batting from Pakistan top order nearly let the team down but Umar Gul and Umar Akmal turned the table on the opponents. Pakistan were tottering at 63/6 and nearly on the verge of defeat but Umar Gul and Umar Akmal take away the match from the reach of South Africa to keep Pakistan in contention.

Umar Akmal proved his mettle in this match for which he was famous but was unable to deliver for Pakistan in the past but now he showed his class with his superb batting. He accompanied by Umar Gul proved their worth for Pakistan and shattered Proteas’ victory dream.

Pakistani top order nearly gifted the match but the bowlers won the match for Pakistan after the failure of top order batsmen who played irresponsible innings and nearly earned defeat for Pakistan. Imran Nazir, Hafeez, Nasir Jamshed and Kamran Akmal threw away their wickets early while playing unnecessary shots that could be avoided to put team under immense pressure. The fall of four wickets in quick succession also bring South Africa back into the game.

Earlier, bowlers helped Pakistan restrict South Africa to 133 for six in the allotted 20 overs because of some good bowling from Yasir Arafat, Saeed Ajmal, Raza Hasan and skipper Hafeez. Duminy was the only batsmen who frustrated Pakistani bowlers and helped Africa post 133 runs in the allotted overs.

Top order batsmen should learn a lesson from the performance of Umar Gul who played professional innings and seemed much better than others in the squash as far as this match is concerned while Umar Akmal also done his job successfully to steer his team to victory.

Raza Hasan, the 20-year-old leftarm orthodox spinner, opened the bowling for Pakistan and bowled his spell splendidly and impressed with his bowling skills. He nearly sent Hashim Ali back to pavilion in his first over but thanks to Kamran Akmal’s poor keeping as he floored Amla and then missed the stumping chance on the same delivery due to failure in collecting the ball while South African opener was much away from the crease but get time to make his ground.

Pakistan bowlers made South Africa struggle till the 12th overs of the innings but they lost control after that and Proteas succeeded in scoring 133 runs.

Hafeez shown confused captaincy skills after the 12th over and took some foolish decision regarding bowling changes and field placing that also help South Africans to make defendable total. Hafeez and Kamran ouster looked suspicion. Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) must investigate the performances.

Raza Hasan is bowling superbly for the last couple of years and whenever he included in Pakistan playing XI he proved his credentials. The PCB should include him in the Pakistan team permanently and prepare him for 2015 World Cup after gaining experience he could prove asset for Pakistan team.

Pakistan should also include a couple of senior players like Younus Khan and M Yousuf to keep team on track for the preparations of 2015 World Cup to be held in Down Under.