Pakistan became the first side in the T20 World Cup to defeat South Africa by 33 runs (DLS) keeping alive their faint hopes of reaching the semifinals as well.
Deciding to bat first at a relatively smaller SCG than they are used to at this tournament, the Green shirts overcome early trouble to put 185/6 on the board largely through contributions from Iftikhar Ahmed (51 off 35), Shadab Khan (52 off 22), debuting Mohammad Harris (28 off 11) and Mohammad Nawaz (28 off 22).
In an inauspicious start, Pakistan lost Mohammad Rizwan (4) in the very first over before Harris showed some much-needed innovation in his first World Cup innings to ease the pressure by smacking three 6s and two 4s during his brief but eventful stay.
His dismissal was followed by Babar Azam’s (6) and Shan Masood’s (2) departures, both falling to Anrich Nortje, to dent Pakistan’s hopes of a decent total on the board.
It was the unlikely duo of Nawaz and Ifikhar that started the rebuild job with a 52-run partnership before Iftikhar and Shadab added a quickfire 82 off just 36 balls for the next wicket to put a defendable score on the board.
For the Proteas, Nortje finished with 4/41 while Wayne Parnell, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, and Tabraiz Shamsi also picked up a wicket each.
In reply, South Africa failed to get going early on with Shaheen Afridi removing the dangerous pair of Quinton de Kock (0) and Rilee Rossouw (7) in quick succession.
Temba Bavuma (36 off 19) and Aiden Markram (20 off 14) mounted a serious comeback, especially targeting Haris Rauf before Shadab bailed his side out with the ball getting rid of both in his first over.
Rain then interrupted the play to leave South Africa needing 73 off 30 balls as a revised target which became impossible after Tristan Stubbs (18) and Heinrich Klaasen (15) departed shortly after the restart.
South Africa could have qualified for the semifinal of the T20 World Cup with a win over Pakistan but must now beat the Netherlands to ensure their progress.
Meanwhile, Pakistan is still in the running but must beat Bangladesh in their remaining fixture and hope for India’s loss against Zimbabwe.