When giants meet, the fear and respect for each other grow to such an extent that the addicts are bound to enjoy an absorbing battle. The clash between South Africa and Pakistan in the Super Six of the World Cup 1999 on Saturday was no exception.
The South Africans are known for doing their home-work with scientific approach and nine out of ten times they execute all such plans to near-perfection to achieve convincing victories. Today they did that in style but not before the native genius of Wasim Akram, the Pakistan captain, exploited his talented bowlers to threaten South Africa who were chasing a victory target of 221. South Africa won by three wickets.
What went wrong with the Pakistan bowlers today?. Their strong belief that sheer flair would take them to the desired destination had a negative impact on their own team .After revealing top class bowling and smart fielding to reduce South Africa to 58 for five in 20 overs , the Paksitan bowlers and fielders became more impulsive against some temperamentally cool and technically tidy South African batsmanship. During the final overs the bowlers were panic-stricken and things became easy for South Africa.
The South Africans jumped from 129 for five in 35 overs to 175 for six in 44 overs which could be termed as the best 'run-rate' period of the chase. At this juncture Saqlain Mushtaq struck a blow upsetting the concentration of the cool customer Jacques Kallis (54 off 99 balls) to make it 175 for 7. A sudden rush of blood saw Kallis miscue an intended pull and wicket-keeper Moin Khan accepted the skier. That seemed to have given Pakistan another chance. But much to their chagrin Klusener was there to do further damage to Pakistan bowlers.
Earlier the sixth wicket pair of Kallis and Shaun Pollock batted with circumspection to upset the rhythm of the Paksitan bowlers . The pair added 77runs before Pollock (30 off 45 balls) was consumed by Inzamam in the slips off Azhar Mahmood who generally bowled the middle overs tidily. Later at 175 for seven Klusener, a gifted all-rounder, pitched his camp in the enemy's camp, and , in the company of Mark Boucher kept South Africa's flag flying high. As 17 runs came of one over from Shoiab Aktar (46th) Pakistan began to wear the looks of a beaten side. Klusener and Boucher went on a rampage and demolished Pakistan with one over to spare.Klusener made 46 not out off 41 balls with three fours and three towering sixes.