After a lot of dramatic and nerve-wracking moments, Pakistan finally went over the line in an exciting Super Eight match against South Africa at Colombo on Friday.
The encounter had everything; drama, thrill and a cooker-pressure situation. Pakistan’s top-order failed to spark and as a result, pressure started mounting up. The Cornered Tigers were at 76 for 7 at one stage.
Umar Gul showed his batting talent to play a magnificent match-changing innings. He scored crucial 32 runs off 17 balls. His knock included a couple of boundaries and three towering sixes.
Umar Akmal, on the other hand, played responsibly. Unlike other batsmen, he did not give away his wicket cheaply, and scored very important 43 runs. He returned unbeaten with a smiling face.
Courtesy to Akmal and Gul’s wonderful show with the bat, the Green Shirts successfully chased South Africa’s total of 133.
Earlier in the day, Jean-Paul Duminy did the trick for the Proteas. After a few early wickets, the classy left-hander took the responsibility on his shoulders, and scored 48 runs.
Skipper Ab de Villiers also played some wonderful strokes, adding 25 runs to the total. Consequently, the South Africans reached 133 for the loss of six wickets in 20 overs.
Pakistan’s run-chase was quite entertaining. After losing in-form Mohammad Hafeez, Nasir Jamshed and Kamran Akmal, Gul and the younger Akmal played exceptionally to ensure a comprehensive win for their country.
For his superb work with the bat, Gul collected the Man of the Match award. His bowling figures were not impressive all at, but the superstar redeemed respect by playing a masterful innings.
At the presentation party, Hafeez said: "We played couple of bad shots but great team effort. I knew that Gul could hit it hard. This is good sign that everybody is contributing. We did well to restrict them, in the end Pakistan was lucky to get this."
Losing skipper AB de Villiers uttered, "I’m proud of the way we fought back. We lost it in the last five overs. Captaincy wise one or two errors there."
Gul’s remarks were: "I must thank to my coach. I told Akmal that we should stay at the crease, the flick is my favourite shot."