Christchurch: A superb display of fast bowling and some composed batting by Ali Zaryab propelled Pakistan to a three-wicket win in an absorbing contest with South Africa at the ICC Under-19 World Cup Super League quarter-finals here on Wednesday.
With Pakistan chasing a target of 190 runs, an unbeaten 74 from Zaryab ensured that the hard work of fast bowlers Mohammad Musa and Shaheen Afridi did not go waste at the Hagley Oval here.
The left-handed Zaryab compiled a cautious but attractive 111-ball knock, which included five boundaries as two-time champions Pakistan reached the target in 47.5 overs after pacers Musa and Shaheen had shared five scalps to help restrict formidable South Africa to 189/9.
The victory over the 2014 champions means Pakistan will now play the winners of Friday’s quarter-final between India and Bangladesh in the second semi-final here on January 30.
Pakistan will be thankful to Zaryab, who was not perturbed even as the 2004 and 2006 champions were reduced to 111/5 after all-rounder Jason Niemand gave South Africa a glimmer of hope with the wickets of captain Hassan Khan and Mohammad Taha.
But Zaryab found an able partner in Saad Khan and the duo added 65 crucial runs for the sixth wicket, which proved to be decisive in a low-scoring affair.
This was Zaryab’s third half-century in the tournament and second successive player of the match award after his 59 in another low-scoring match against Sri Lanka had ensured that Pakistan not only qualified for the Super League but eventually topped their group ahead of Afghanistan.
Earlier in the day, Pakistan fast bowlers Musa and Shaheen justified Hassan’s decision to bowl first as they made deep inroads into a strong South African batting line-up.
Shaheen struck as soon as he was introduced into the attack in the sixth over and along with new-ball bowler Musa, seized the initiative for his team.
Shaheen struck two telling blows as he removed openers Matthew Breetzke (12) and Jiveshan Pillay (14) just as they looked to be batting themselves in.
Shaheen got Breetzke to edge one to wicketkeeper Rohail Nazir and then bowled Pillay with an inswinger that went through taking the inside edge of the bat.
The pair of dismissals took Shaheen’s tally in the tournament to 11, the joint-highest along with Canada’s Faisal Jamkhandi.
Musa was not to be left behind as he chipped in with the wickets of Raynard van Tonder (4) and Hermann Rolfes (5) as South Africa were left reeling at 43/4 in the 15th over.
Van Tonder was caught at mid-off off a leading edge while Rolfes was caught behind the wicket off an inner edge.
Musa also dismissed a well-set Makwetu (60) to further reduce South Africa’s chances of a fightback.
A couple of run outs and some good support from the spin bowlers kept Pakistan in tight control of the proceedings.