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Akmal brothers rescue disappointing Pakistan


Kamran Akmal scored a brilliant half century to help the defending champs recover after suffering another disappointing batting performance to leave their hopes of reaching the Twenty20 World Cup semi finals in the balance.

After losing their previous two Super Eights group games the defending champs came into today’s game knowing they had to beat South Africa and hope England beat New Zealand to secure a place in the top two of Group E.

Having won the toss Pakistan decided to bat first but they were unable to gain any advantage after South Africa restricted them to a total of just 148-7 on a good batting track.

19 year old Akmal top scored for Pakistan smashing a quick fire 51 from just 33 balls, his superb innings included 2 fours and 4 sixes. He was supported by his brother Kamran (37) and skipper Shahid Afridi (30).

The Pakistan innings got off to the worst possible start after they lost Salman Butt (2) at the start of the second over. The opener came into the game having scored an impressive 67 against New Zealand but he was undone by a bouncer from Dale Steyn and he thick edge an attempted pull shot to Graeme Smith at mid-on.

Khalid Latif (7) and Mohammad Hafeez (1) quickly followed to leave Pakistan 18-3 with only 5 overs gone as South Africa increased the pressure in a game they had to win as well.

With three quick wickets having fallen Kamran Akmal and Umar Akmal offered some resistant for the defending champions; the brothers saw out South Africa’s quick bowlers before they attacked the spinners as the runs started to flow.

Having been criticised for not play two spinners against England in Barbados; South Africa dropped Morne Morkel and brought in Roelof Van der Merwe when an extra pace bowler would have been wiser.

In the two overs he bowled; Van der Merwe conceded 22 runs which included 19 from his second over as Pakistan fought their way back into the game.

Although Van der Merwe struck to remove Kamran Akmal (37) with his last ball of the 10th over the damage had already been done as Pakistan regained the momentum as Umar Akmal and Shahid Afridi launched a brutal blitz in a partnership of 61.

The pair were both dismissed by Charl Langeveldt in the 16th over to halt Pakistan’s excellent recovery as the Proteas struck back to limit the defending champs to a total of just 148-7 thanks to a career best performance by Langeveldt who took 4 wickets conceding just 19 runs in his 4 overs.

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