The Pakistani cricket team had not got the start as they wanted and had lost their opening matches against India and West Indies under the skipper Misbah. However Pakistan comfortably stood victorious in their next two matches against Zimbabwe and UAE.
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The upcoming match was against South Africa’s star-studded team lead by AB de Villiers. Pakistan batted first and managed to score 222 runs in 46.4 overs. The skipper, Misbah, scored 56 while the freshly included wicket keeper proved his worth to be included in this squad by scoring 49 runs. On the other hand South Africa’s Dale Steyn recorded figures of three for 30 to emerge the pick among the South African bowlers. The Proteas, in reply, were inflicted with an early blow as wicketkeeper batsman Quinton de Kock, who was removed for a two-ball duck. Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis added 67 runs for the second wicket, before a flurry of wickets saw South Africa steadily collapse while chasing the modest target.
AB de Villiers attacked the Pakistan bowling attack with the viciousness that made him one of the most feared batsman in the world in recent times, smashing 77 runs off 58 balls.
Sarfraz Ahmed caught 6 catches in this encounter setting up a new record in the World Cup. Sarfraz’s outstanding performance made him the man of the match.
Sarfraz (speaking in Urdu): “I want to thank my parents, family members and also to everyone who were praying for me to do well. There was a lot of pressure. I felt like today was my debut match. There was a lot of tension but I spoke to Mushy bhai (Mushtaq Ahmed). He gave me a lot of confidence. There was a lot of pressure playing against a top bowling attack, but by the grace of Allah I did well and the performance is there for all to see.”
This was an amazing win for the greens getting them back into the prestigious tournament. If Pakistan were to go through, they needed to defeat Ireland which was in great form.
Ireland got a great start with their skipper, William Porterfield getting a century (107 runs) but his teammates failed to keep their wickets and Irish got all out with a total of 237 runs. The wicket keeping batsman, Sarfraz was in great form. Pakistan managed to get a good start as openers Sarfraz Khan and Ahmed Shehzad (63) provided a 120-run stand — their first century-plus partnership in the tournament.
When Pakistan needed a hero, Sarfraz was there to fill the gap. The batsman scored his maiden ODI century which was enough for his side to earn a place in the quarters.
Sarfraz Ahmed became the first Pakistani batsman to have scored a century in the world cup leaving behind only Afghanistan who had still failed to unlock this achievement. Sarfraz being a wicket keeper also beat the score of the world cup winner Moen khan who had scored the highest runs for a Pakistani wicket keeper (63) in a world cup against South Africa in 1999.
Although Pakistan didn’t bring the trophy home but Pakistan discovered a brilliant talent: Yes! The wicketkeeper batsman- Sarfraz Ahmed.
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