Proteas stay afloat, push Pakistan to brink of elimination

Birmingham: Prolific batsman Hashim Amla (81) hit a splendid half-century before Ryan McLaren took four wickets as South Africa mauled Pakistan by 67 runs to keep themselves in the race for the Champions Trophy semifinals, here today.
Pakistan bowlers did a fantastic job by restricting South Africa to 234 for nine, which was built around Hamla's knock and small contributions from Faf du Plessis (28), skipper AB de Villiers (31) and JP Duminy (24).
Pakistani batsmen though could not compliment the good job done by their bowlers as they failed to apply themselves under challenging conditions.
Skipper Misbah-ul-Haq (55) and opener Nasir Jamshed (42) were the only ones, who showed intent to resist the Proteas as Pakistan were all out for 167 in 45 overs.
It was second successive batting failure for Pakistan and this defeat has dented their chances to progress in the tournament as they next face arch-rivals India on Saturday.
Stroke-making was difficult since the Edgbaston wicket assisted pacers as well as spinners.
MacLaren emerged as the highest wicket-taker for South Africa with figures of 8-3-19-4 but it was young paceman Chris Morris (2/25) together with Lonwabo Tsotsobe (2/23) who build pressure and strangulated the Pakistan innings early on.
Such was the domination of bowlers that Pakistan scored just 36 runs in first 15 overs and lost Imran Farhat (2) and Mohammed Hafeez (7). Morris accounted for both as he bowled Farhat and foxed Hafeez with extra bounce to have him caught at square leg.
McLaren and part-timer JP Duminy (1/26) too bowled venomous spells to pile on the misery of the rivals.
Immediately after the first drinks break, Duminy bowled Shoaib Malik, who played a defensive shot but the ball rolled back, hit the stumps and knocked over the bails.
Jamshed was fighting hard from one end even as Pakistan trudged to 75 for three in 25 overs.
Tsotsobe returned for another spell and removed Jamshed by having him caught in his follow through. McLaren played his part by dismissing Umar Amin (16) and Kamran Akmal (0) departed in quick succession.
Misbah had no option but to go all out and in the process became Tsotsobe's second victim. That was the final nail in Pakistan's coffin.
Earlier, despite Pakistan's impressive bowling the South African batsmen did succeed in getting good starts. However, they were guilty of not converting those into big knocks.