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Botha praises SA’s ‘clinical performance’

Paceman Lonwabo Tsotsobe and off-spinner Johan Botha on Tuesday took three wickets apiece to help South Africa beat Pakistan by six wickets in the first of two Twenty20 matches.

Tsotsobe, with a career-best 3-16, and skipper Botha (3-31) led a spirited South African bowling in restricting Pakistan to a paltry 119 at the Abu Dhabi Stadium in a match whose income will go to flood victims in Pakistan.

More than two million people were displaced in the worst-ever floods in Pakistan.

JP Duminy hit an elegant 41 while Colin Ingram remained unbeaten with 46 as South Africa reached the target after losing three early wickets for 26 runs.

The two left-handers shared a solid 66-run partnership for the fourth wicket after paceman Shoaib Akhtar gave Pakistan some hope with the quick wickets of opener Loots Bosman and AB de Villiers in the third over.

Ingram hit two towering sixes and four boundaries during his 38-ball knock. Duminy hit five boundaries as the two dominated the Pakistan bowling, which initially looked threatening.

Botha said he was happy to lead the series.

“It was a clinical performance and I am happy at the way the young guns stepped in after we lost three early wickets, especially Ingram and Duminy,” said Botha.

Duminy, who also took two beautiful catches, was named man of the match.

Disappointed
Earlier, Tsotsobe and off-spinner Botha bowled tightly to derail Pakistan, who won the toss and batted on a flat pitch.

Misbah-ul-Haq, recalled after being axed following the World Twenty20 in May this year, top scored with 27, with a six and two boundaries.

Skipper Shahid Afridi hit a rapid seven-ball 25 before he became one of Botha’s three victims.

Pakistan had raced to 16 in the second over before Tsotsobe removed openers Imran Farhat (10) and Shahzaib Hasan (nine) in the sixth.

Botha then removed Mohammad Hafeez (13), Afridi and Abdul Razzaq (four) to end Pakistan’s hopes of reaching a respectable total.

Pakistan coach Waqar Younis was disappointed over the poor batting.

“We scored 25 to 30 runs less than we expected,” said Waqar, whose team lost the last six wickets for a mere 35 runs. “We need to bat with strategy in the next game.”

This is Pakistan’s home series, shifted to United Arab Emirates due to security fears.

The two teams meet in the second Twenty20 on Wednesday.

They then play the first two one-day internationals and the second Test in Abu Dhabi. Dubai will stage the last three one-dayers and the first Test. — AFP

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Shahid Hashmi
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