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The Barbados Nation 2nd Super Six Match: Pakistan v South Africa
Tony Cozier in Nottingham - 5 June 1999

Klusener strikes again

It was billed as a preview to the final, and Pakistan and South Africa fulfilled expectations with a tense, closely fought World Cup Super Sixes match at Trent Bridge yesterday.

The teams most favoured to contest the championship at Lord's on June 20 have similar strengths and weaknesses and they were clearly evident through the low-scoring contest, eventually won by South Africa by three wickets with an over in hand.

Once more, the strong bowling on either side strangled the early batting. Once more, the sledgehammer hitting of men down the order, who had repeatedly done it in earlier matches, broke free in both innings with a final flourish of sixes and fours.

For Pakistan, wicket-keeper Moin Khan's 63 off 56 balls, with two sixes and six fours, maintained his tournament strike rate at better than run-a-ball and led them to 220 for seven.

For South Africa, all-rounder Lance Klusener, the powerful left-hander who is cricket's answer to baseball's Mark McGwire, thumped three sixes and three fours in an unbeaten 46 off 41 balls that achieved a victory that seemed improbable, if not impossible, when he arrived with six wickets down and 86 required off 13.5 overs.

It was Klusener's fifth innings of the tournament and he has yet to be dismissed for 211 runs made off 189 balls.

It was a critical win for South Africa who carried only two points through to the Super Sixes from the first round. They are now level with Pakistan and Zimbabwe on four with two matches to play. New Zealand and Australia have two, India none. The top four teams go through to the semifinals.

Wasim Akram's decision to bat on winning the toss, mainly because the sun was shining and the afternoon forecast was for rain, did not seem especially clever when Pakistan limped to 150 for six with only seven of their 50 overs remaining.

South Africa's potent seam bowling, five strong, gave little away, and Pakistan assisted with a couple of run-outs, inevitably including the immobile Inzamam-ul-Haq for his 30th in One-Day International.

The depth in South Africa's attack was accentuated by Steve Elworthy, their fourth in line. His ten consecutive overs yielded him the wickets of left-handed opener Saeed Anwar, and the impressive teenager Abdul Razzaq, for a mere 28 runs.

The more celebrated Allan Donald had the other opener, Wajatullah Wasti, caught behind, Klusener accounted for Ijaz Ahmed to Daryl Cullinan's acrobative catch at extra-cover, and Inzamam and Yousaf Youhanna were both run out.

Inzamam wouldn't have been had he grounded his bat instead of trotting in with it raised. Youhanna, hobbled by a strained hamstring, observed his own demise from square-leg as Ijaz, his proxy, was short on Klusener's direct hit.

Moin is the quickest Pakistani between the wickets but, with people like Inzamam as his partners, he has long since realised that it is best to get his runs in boundaries. He lashed two sixes off Glenn McGrath in 31 off 12 balls against Australia and now picked out another famous fast bowler for similar treatment, taking 17, with a six and two fours, off an over from Donald.

South Africa's response to the challenge of scoring 231 followed an almost identical pattern to the Pakistan innings.

Against the whirlwind Shoaib Akhtar, repeatedly clocked at over 90 miles an hour on the speedometer displayed on the boundary's edge, the left-arm Akram and the two outstanding support medium-pacers, Azhar Mahmood and the multi-talented Razzack, they were 58 for five when the dangerous Jonty Rhodes was out off the last ball of the 20th over.

Like their opponents, they were not in charted territory for only once in the first round had they reached 100 with fewer than four wickets down.

A steady sixth-wicket partnership of 76 off 16.1 overs between Jacques Kallis, the last of the main batsmen, and fast bowler Shaun Pollock righted the listing ship for the sledghammer-hitting Lance Klusener to finally guide it home.

With Klusener, at No. 8, and wicket-keeper Mark Bouncer, at No. 9, batsmen good enough to have scored Test hundreds, the South Africans know there is no reason to panic because of stuttering starts.

Kallis, with aid from Pollock, sensibly bided his time until he was satisfied the moment had come for some slogging.

It is an approach that doesn't become him and he was out in the 45th over, top-edging a swipe at off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq's drifter.

Klusener, on the other hand, enjoys nothing better and he found a willing accomplice in Boucher.

When Akram brought back Shaoib, Klusener top-edged a hook off a no-ball for four, clubbed him over mid-wicket for six and gained four leg-byes in an over that brought 16.

He then hoisted Saqlain over the ropes at midwicket and pulled Akram a little straighter for another six.

Boucher caught the mood, bringing victory to within a run with a swiped six over long-on off Saqlain, allowing Klusener to sky the winning runs, scampering two while Anwar let a skier drop to ground.

Source: The Barbados Nation
Editorial comments can be sent to The Barbados Nation at nationnews@sunbeach.net