Pakistan show how dangerous they can be

6:44 am on 8 March 2015

Pakistan have beaten South Africa by 29 runs under the Duckworth-Lewis method, in their rain-affected Cricket World Cup match at Eden Park in Auckland.

Pakistan celebrate at Eden Park, World Cup, 2015.

Pakistan celebrate at Eden Park, World Cup, 2015. Photo: Photosport

In a winning return to the venue where they defeated New Zealand in their 1992 World Cup semi-final, before going on to win the tournament for the first and only time, Pakistan appear to have got their 2015 campaign back on track.

After a shaky start to the Cup, including a crushing defeat by West Indies in Christchurch, Pakistan showed enough on Saturday by beating pre-tournament favourites South Africa to demonstrate what dangerous opponents they can be.

The match proved a triumph for Sarfraz Ahmed who came into the team in the dual role of opening batsman and wicketkeeper.

Sarfraz took three sixes of a JP Duminy over before he was run out for 49 attempting the second run which would have taken him to his half-century.

He then equalled the one-day world record by holding six catches when South Africa batted.

"I am very thankful to the world and Pakistan for this opportunity. I want to thank all those who supported me, including my family. This is my World Cup debut match," Sarfraz says, after he was chosen as man of the match.

"Beating South Africa, who are playing really good cricket, after that everybody believes now, the players, the team, can take a lot of confidence from it. When runs are on the board, it is always pressure on the opposition," says Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq.

Pakistan's batting was again fragile and their fielding often erratic although the catching was sound. But their fast bowlers rose to the occasion and the three-left armers Mohammad Irfan, Wahab Riaz and Rahat Ali each took three wickets.

Asked if the present side could emulate Imran Khan's 1992 side, who had also made a bad start to the tournament, coach Waqar Younis replied: "Look, I hope, I hope that it turns out to be the same. But we really have to work hard. World Cup are pressure games."

"In 92 Pakistan lost early games, they came back very strongly. They had they had the belief, Imran Khan had the belief and I believe and I hope that that belief is coming into our dressing room."

Zimbabwe were also knocked out of Cup finals contention in a thrilling five-run loss to Ireland in Hobart.