South Africa have prevailed in their do-or-die battle in the 4th ODI winning it comfortably to keep the series alive at 2-2. With the Proteas winning today’s match at Multan, it is all upto the final ODI at Lahore to decide the 5-match series. Graeme Smith and Shaun Pollock struck smooth half centuries that eased the Proteas through in a chase of a moderate target.
Shoaib Malik’s side could only get 230 on the board after winning the toss. Early breakthroughs made it a shaky start for Pakistan which included that of the inform Mohammad Yousuf. Pak struggled after being at 38 for 3 in the 13th over. The inevitable rescue act came from Younis Khan and Shoaib Malik. However, both batsmen failed to stay the distance that could have got plenty of more runs for their side. While Malik got 45 from 54, Younis Khan got 82 from 110 with the help of 6 fours and a couple of sixes. There were useful contributions coming in from Kamran Akmal (28 from 32) and Abdur Rehman (31 from 37) towards the fag end. The South African bowling attack was well led by Pollock (10-0-37-1) and Ntini (10-0-26-1). All the six bowlers used by Graeme Smith could end up with atleast a wicket.
After a rapid start of 39 from 37 with 7 fours from Gibbs, South Africa found themselves cruising towards the target of 231. Gibbs’ innings was cut short by an umpiring error which gave a lucky lbw to Shahid Afridi. But by then SA had already got 65 on the board in just over 10 overs. The smooth ride was further prolonged by Skipper Graeme Smith and Shaun Pollock, who was promoted up the order to counter the two Pakistani Spinners. Both batsmen looked absolutely unconquered until they lost their wickets with their side almost getting to a victory. Pollock got 90 in 84 balls with 9 fours and a six while his Skipper got 81 from 103 with 7 fours. South Africa needed just the 37.4 overs to wrap up their chase. For his all round show, Shaun Pollock was the Man of the Match winner. The return of Mohammad Asif didn’t quite make any difference for the Pakistanis as he went wicketless conceding 64 in 8 overs.