Shadab Khan-inspired Pakistan beat South Africa to avoid elimination, Pakistan’s slim chances of progressing in the Men’s T20 World Cup were boosted by a brilliantly frenetic win over South Africa at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Pakistan rallied from 48-4 to 185-9, then took regular wickets to deny South Africa in a rain-shortened chase, winning by 33 runs on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method.
Pakistan can still qualify for the semi-finals if they beat Bangladesh on Sunday and South Africa loses to the Netherlands or India loses to Zimbabwe.
They owe a lot to Shadab Khan and Iftikhar Ahmed, who put on an incredible 82-ball partnership.
To the delight of a raucous, Pakistan-dominated crowd, Shadab smashed 52 from 22 balls and Iftikhar a 35-ball 51 in an infectious display of hitting.
After Temba Bavuma and Aiden Markram put on 49 in 27 balls to give South Africa hope, leg-spinner Shadab dismissed both in three deliveries.
Rain arrived shortly after, reducing the target to 142 off 14 overs, with South Africa needing 73 off 30 balls from 69-4.
Heinrich Klaasen hinted at an unlikely Proteas victory by hitting three fours in his first four balls after the restart, but his dismissal, caught off Shaheen Afridi, allowed Pakistan to finish the match clinically.
South Africa would have been the first team to confirm a semi-final spot if they had won, but they will still advance if they beat the Netherlands on Sunday.
Pakistan could advance if they defeat Bangladesh and South Africa-Netherlands is a wash. The two teams would then be tied on six points, but Pakistan would advance with three wins to the Proteas’ two.