LONDON — Hashim Amla’s 81 and a disciplined bowling display on Monday gave South Africa a 67-run win that pushed Pakistan to the brink of Champions Trophy cricket competition elimination.
Amla’s effort, along with 31 from AB de Villiers and 28 from Faf du Plessis, helped the Proteas to 234-9.
But, chasing what was no more than a par score on a slowing Edgbaston pitch, Pakistan were restricted to only 167.
South Africa could reach the semi-finals with a win over West Indies, while Pakistan must beat India.
Both South Africa and Pakistan were defeated in their opening games of the tournament but, while the Proteas, and their bowlers in particular, showed great improvement at Edgbaston, Pakistan displayed familiar failings.
Seam pair Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Ryan McLaren, who conceded 153 between them in the loss to India, went for only 42 in their combined 17 overs, while Chris Morris – in for the injured Morne Morkel — impressed on debut as the attack compensated for the batsmen’s earlier failure to capitalise on a sturdy start.
After Amla shared stands of 53 with Colin Ingram and 59 with Du Plessis, the Proteas faltered badly, scoring only 112 runs in the final 22 overs — despite having nine wickets in hand.
That was down both to sharp Pakistan fielding and another strong showing from a bowling unit that almost rescued Misbah-ul-Haq’s side after they were bowled out for 170 in the defeat by the Windies.
On that occasion, only Misbah and Nasir Jamshed reached double figures, and it was that pair on whom Pakistan again relied in Birmingham.
Displaying an early caution that invited pressure, Pakistan saw Imran Farhat lose his off stump and Mohammad Hafeez caught on the hook — Morris the bowler on both occasions — before JP Duminy crept an off-break through Shoaib Malik’s defence.
Misbah joined Jamshed with only 48 on the board in the 18th over and the scoring rate was upped before Jamshed offered a return catch to Tsotsobe on 42.
Misbah sought to consolidate after the wicket and was booed by some parts of the partisan Birmingham crowd, but as the captain attacked during the batting powerplay, Umar Amin and Kamran Akmal fell in the same McLaren over — Akmal to a sharp catch by Du Plessis at point.
Misbah continued his aggression, only to shovel Tsotsobe to Amla at mid-wicket for 55, effectively ending the contest. McLaren ran through the tail for figures of 4-19.