After taking the early lead on Sunday, the South Africans did well to maintain their composure, with the Pakistanis fighting back throughout the first half. However, victory was snatched from their grasp, in the dying stages as they went down in their third loss from four games in the tournament.
Thornton McDade got the South African men off to a good start, striking in the second minute as they gained control of the encounter. Pakistan took 18 minutes to hit back, but they eventually equalised when Shafqat Rasool broke clear and offloaded to Abdul Haseem Khan who scored to draw the sides level.
South Africa fired back two minutes later with Justin Reid-Ross scoring from a penalty corner, but moments afterwards Khan was again in the thick of things, getting the ball to Rasool who levelled the scores.
With 11 minutes left in the first half, Pakistan took the lead for the first time when Shakeel Abassi was denied by South African goalkeeper Rassie Pieterse and Khan netted his brace from the rebound.
Drag flick specialist Reid-Ross was again on form, however, as he equalised from a penalty corner on the stroke of half-time to leave the sides level at 3-3 at the break. The South Africans regained the lead three minutes into the second period when Wade Paton pounced on a rebound off Pakistan keeper Imran Shah to hit the backboard. They held the advantage for nearly half an hour, with defender Andrew Cronje stretching to connect his stick with a tame effort from Rasool to keep South Africa in the lead.
Pakistan, however, hit back with six minutes left, with captain Sohail Abbas firing in a penalty corner, scoring the 348th goal of his international career.
Three minutes later Waseem Ahmad buried the winner, tapping in a strike to keep Pakistan in contention for a place in the semi-finals.
Meanwhile, despite finishing down the field in 35th position, Rene Kalmer clocked a respectable time, just falling short of her personal best in the women's marathon at the London Olympics on Sunday.
Kalmer, the fastest of the SA trio heading into the race, produced a stellar first half, going through the 21km mark just 10 seconds behind the race leaders in one hour, 13 minutes, 23 seconds (1:13:23).
And while she slowed in the second half, she held on to finish the race in 2:30.51 – 52 seconds slower than her career record.
The other South Africans in the race struggled in humid conditions, with Tanith Maxwell trailing home in 2:40.27 to finish 81st of 118 competitors. Irvette van Blerk, running only her second marathon, dropped out the race before the halfway mark. – Sapa