Shadab Khan shines as Pakistan beat South Africa to retain slim semi-final hopes

Shadab Khan’s all-round excellence helped keep Pakistan’s slim T20 World Cup semi-final hopes alive as they overcame South Africa by 33 runs under the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method.

Pakistan had beaten South Africa on all three previous meetings in the competition but, in a must-win showdown at the Sydney Cricket Ground, they lurched to 43 for four midway through the seventh over.

Their position should have worsened as Iftikhar Ahmed was dropped on two but he contributed 51 off 35 balls before Shadab’s onslaught of 52 from just 22 deliveries catapulted Pakistan to 185 for nine.

Three of Shadab’s four sixes came off Anrich Nortje, who nevertheless took the wicket of the all-rounder then Mohammad Wasim with his next ball to finish with figures of four for 41.

Shaheen Shah Afridi snared Quinton de Kock then Rilee Rossouw, while Shadab had Temba Bavuma caught behind for 36 off 19 balls before castling Aiden Markram through the gate for 20 off 14 deliveries.

South Africa had slipped to 69 for four after nine overs when a shower reduced their target to 142 from 14 overs, and they lost wickets at regular intervals from there as Afridi finished with three for 14.

South Africa limped to 108 for nine to slip to their first defeat of the campaign but a win over the Netherlands on Sunday will guarantee the Proteas a top-two Super 12s finish and a semi-final spot.

Pakistan’s prospects of the last four rest on them seeing off Bangladesh as well as relying on South Africa or India, who take on Zimbabwe at the MCG, to lose.