Misbah pinches a run past silly mid-on, getting the strike back to Afridi, who picks up two with a pull to deep midwicket. More troubling for South Africa is the sight of de Villiers clutching his hand, having fallen awkwardly retrieving that ball. Misbah comes back on strike, and flicks a short delivery past third man for a canny boundary. Two more runs for a teak-tough 50 for the Pakistan captain.
38th over: Pakistan 184-5 (Misbah 42, Afridi 7)
Tahir is in for his eighth over; don’t forget, we’re still deep in the batting powerplay. Shahid Afridi is going to come out swinging, and he swats a full delivery over long off for six. A costly over from Tahir, who has otherwise respectable figures of 8-1-36-0.
Here we go again. No overs lost, so 13 more for Pakistan to try and build a total. It’s breezier than a Monica Geller voicemail in Auckland.
Play set to resume at 4am GMT / 5pm local time
Good news: it looks as though the rain is easing off, and play will resume earlier than expected. In about ten minutes, in fact.
If you prefer cricket to rain, why not join Dan Lucas for Ireland v Zimbabwe, far across the Tasman sea in Hobart? Come back when it clears up though. Promise.
The ground staff were ready for the rain, even though it’s a little earlier than expected. So are the wags operating the PA, who whack on “Why Does It Always Rain on Me?”. Remember when Travis played it at Glastonbury? And it rained? And they built an entire career out of that one amusing coincidence? No?
Anyway, I’d have gone for this – although with the squall setting in, there may be an hour or two to roll a few precipitation-themed pop classics...
37th over: Pakistan 175-5 (Misbah 40, Afridi 0)
Shahid Afridi comes to the crease, faces one ball, and then heads back to the pavilion, for the rain has arrived. Play suspended. Boo!
Morkel gets his man, the variety offered so far in this over getting into Akmal’s head, and as he tries to attack, he’s caught by a bouncer which flies to de Villiers at midwicket. The captain manages to hold the ball despite not being able to see it. There’s nothing the man can’t do.
37th over: Pakistan 174-4 (Misbah 39, Akmal 13)
Morkel is back in, desperately searching for a first wicket – and after Misbah nabs a textbook single, he has Akmal in trouble with a full delivery, than a back of a length ball that catches the outside edge. And then...
Drinks break here, as the lights come on at Eden Park. It’s certainly gloomy, but no sign of rain just yet. If Pakistan can get on the front foot, they could rack up 300 - that’s a tough target to chase; South Africa do a lot of things very well, but chasing hefty totals isn’t one of them. It’s nicely poised.
36th over: Pakistan 174-4 (Misbah 39, Akmal 13)
Powerplay time, with Steyn bowling from the southern end of the ground – but from a short delivery, Akmal cracks a lofted pull over midwicket. He had Steyn’s number there. Steyn responds as you might expect, with three short, fierce deliveries, from which Akmal and Misbah glean a run each. Who says this World Cup is all about big hitters? Misbah is creeping towards one of the least dynamic half-centuries I’ve ever seen.
35th over: Pakistan 166-4 (Misbah 37, Akmal 8)
Kyle Abbott, who you’ll recall only started due to Vernon Philander injuring himself in the warm-up, is having a fine afternoon, conceding just two runs as Pakistan stay on the defensive. The powerplay is coming, though, so the time for conservatism may be over. Misbah in particular has been stoic; 37 runs from 60 balls, in what has felt like about three hours.
34th over: Pakistan 165-4 (Misbah 36, Akmal 7)
Tahir comes in to bowl, with de Villiers surprisingly overlooking both the seamers and himself. Just one run from Akmal with a pull to midwicket. Tahir has bounced back impressively after a tough start – and on a ground that doesn’t suit spinners.
33rd over: Pakistan 164-4 (Misbah 36, Akmal 6)
More sloppy bowling from de Villiers, with 8 runs from the over. Akmal gets off the mark, driving a full length delivery through the on side. You sense that what’s left of the Pakistan innings will be crucial, with the seamers waiting for the likes of Akmal and Afridi, should he get in, to start swinging.
32nd over: Pakistan 156-4 (Misbah 34, Akmal 0)
Abbott makes the breakthrough with the final ball, putting Maqsood, who never looked comfortable, out of his misery. Umar Akmal is next to the crease.
Kyle Abbott gets his second wicket, and after almost forcing the error from Misbah, he finds the nervy Maqsood more obliging, slicing a back of a length delivery straight to Roussow, waiting at backward point.
32nd over: Pakistan 155-3 (Misbah 33, Maqsood 8)
Misbah-ul-Haq has been patience personified, and he leaves Abbott’s first three balls well alone, before finding a gap at third man to draw a couple of runs. A rare heart-in-mouth moment as Misbah wafts a square drive, but there’s nobody there...
31st over: Pakistan 153-3 (Misbah 31, Maqsood 8)
Curious stuff from de Villiers, as Misbah rattles another short ball back past the bowler for four, before the captain finds the right length to swing his next delivery away from Misbah. De Villiers is capable of taking wickets here, perhaps through sheer determination alone, but he’s proving expensive.
30th over: Pakistan 147-3 (Misbah 26, Maqsood 8)
Kyle Abbott returns, and continues to probe keenly, putting the pressure on Maqsood with a back of a length ball that beats the batsman for pace outside off. South Africa’s seamers have kept Pakistan from really getting up a head of steam. to the point that 300 now looks an optimistic total, rather than a conservative one.
29th over: Pakistan 145-3 (Misbah 25, Maqsood 7)
De Villiers gives himself another over, every inch the school team star who wants a bash at everything. Not that I’m bitter. It’s all going swimmingly, until Misbah picks his spot with the final ball, lashing one to cow corner. 1-29 for the South Africa captain, but he’s using up overs at least, with a strong middle order to come for Pakistan.
28th over: Pakistan 139-3 (Misbah 20, Maqsood 6)
Maqsood is denied a boundary by some more canny fielding, having punched a fuller Morkel delivery down the ground. The new batsman does get a four in similar fashion, which serves only to annoy Morkel, and the last two deliveries catch Maqsood, who twice comes close to edging through to de Kock.
27th over: Pakistan 132-3 (Misbah 16, Maqsood 0)
Maqsood sees out the over for no run. De Villiers had looked every inch the Sunday afternoon slogger in his first two overs, and perhaps lulled Younus into a false sense of security. Another wicket down, without turning to Steyn or Morkel, and things look a little brighter for the Proteas – although not in a literal sense, as fat grey clouds begin to gather in the Auckland sky.
De Villiers, to the disbelief of many, has another go – and after three balls of nothing special, he makes the breakthrough! Younis, trying to guide a delivery through mid-on, gets an edge which is snapped up by Roussow. Never, ever question AB de Villiers.
26th over: Pakistan 129-2 (Younis 36, Misbah 16)
De Villiers is clearly trying to share overs out, trying to keep Steyn and Morkel, who have kept things tight, with overs to spare. It’s a risky strategy, though, as Pakistan have targeted the spinners, and Duminy in particular. Morkel shows how it’s done here, leaking just three runs from another menacing over.
25th over: Pakistan 126-2 (Younis 35, Misbah 15)
Just as South Africa’s bowlers have slowed Pakistan down, here comes AB de Villiers for another over – but the captain’s self-confidence nearly pays off, with Misbah almost holing out to short backward square. The ball carries over Tahir’s head for four, though – and a gruesome short ball is despatched by Younis for another four. 54 runs from five overs bowled by the captain and Duminy.
24th over: Pakistan 115-2 (Younis 30, Misbah 9)
Morkel continues in his efforts to rattle the respective cages of Younis and Misbah, with the latter getting away with a looping shot through fine leg. Despite cries of ‘catch’, it drops beyond de Kock, racing out from behind the stumps. Four singles off the over.
23rd over: Pakistan 111-2 (Younis 28, Misbah 7)
Maiden from Tahir, with Misbah on the defensive to see out the over. 8 runs from 26 balls for the captain; there’s a fine line between being conservative, and draining the momentum from the innings, which Misbah is currently astride.
22nd over: Pakistan 111-2 (Younis 28, Misbah 7)
Just the one run from this over, as Morkel varies his length to keep Misbah guessing, before the Pakistan captain nurdles a single off the final ball. Nicholas Butt reckons 300 is the least Pakistan can expect: “A projected 250 to 300 is, I suggest a little light ... a score of well over 300 should be anticipated.”
21st over: Pakistan 110-2 (Younis 28, Misbah 7)
Always good fun to see Morne Morkel in the field – the gangly bowler resembling a dying spider as he tries to heave a throw in from deep square leg. Three runs from this over as Tahir finds a bit of consistency, save for a bye down Younis’s leg side.
20th over: Pakistan 107-2 (Younis 28, Misbah 5)
Dale Steyn now comes steaming in towards Younis, who takes a single down at third man to rotate the strike. A full delivery, then a short one, both left alone by Misbah, before a wild wide from a frustrated Steyn. Steyn, like his fellow seamers, has offered plenty of zip, but has lacked that killer accuracy. As a result, Pakistan’s batsmen have been able to pick and choose. Just three from that over, but a run rate of 5.39 isn’t too shabby.
So, Pakistan are ticking along slightly better than expected – if they can keep their heads, and wickets in hand, 250-300 looks reasonable. Would AB de Villiers still choose to bowl first? You can’t go back, AB.
19th over: Pakistan 104-2 (Younis 27, Misbah 4)
Duminy, who shipped 25 runs in his first two overs, has another bash - and smooth operators Younis and Misbah take two singles each, before Younis clips a mishit cover drive which runs to the boundary at third man. Pakistan will take ‘em however they come, as they creep over the hundred mark. The figures aren’t pretty so far for Duminy - 3-0-34-0. Time for drinks...
18th over: Pakistan 95-2 (Younis 20, Misbah 2)
Steyn is back in, after Pakistan, save for the run-out, made copious quantities of hay from South Africa’s spinners. Misbah starts with a squeaky single, with South Africa getting a throw at the non-striker’s end. Their field has been a hive of activity, particularly when the seamers have come in. Steyn beats Misbah’s outside edge with a length delivery, but the batsman, perhaps fortunately, doesn’t get any willow on it.
17th over: Pakistan 93-2 (Younis 19, Misbah 1)
Plenty of experience and common sense at the crease for Pakistan now, as Misbah joins Younis. The captain gets off the mark with a single off Tahir, eased away through mid-on.
That low rumble you just heard was Sarfraz hitting the self-destruct button. A single looks set to take him to 49, but the batsmen push for two, and it’s a bad, bad call - David Miller whips a throw to De Kock, and Sarfraz is run out by some distance, one short of the half-century. What a careless wicket after such a good start.
16th over: Pakistan 90-1 (Younis 18, Sarfraz 48)
Sarfraz is warming up nicely, and he’s having a time of it against Duminy, pummelling two consecutive deliveries through the on side for six! Confidence starting to flow after a cagey start – and there’s another, following a wide with another that goes the distance. The first sixes of the innings, and Sarfraz finds three in one over! Sarfraz now just two runs off a half century, after ripping poor Duminy apart in that over.
15th over: Pakistan 69-1 (Younis 18, Sarfraz 30)
Tahir and company haven’t found the intensity of the opening bowlers, particularly as this Auckland pitch, which was providing movement from the first ball, seems to have died a touch. Sarfraz continues his impressive knock, dabbing away through third man for another four.
14th over: Pakistan 63-1 (Younis 17, Sarfraz 25)
JP Duminy is fit and raring to go, and he comes into the attack for an untypical over, which sees four singles as South Africa try to tighten up in the field. No matter – Pakistan will be very happy with this scoreline after fourteen overs.
13th over: Pakistan 59-1 (Younis 15, Sarfraz 23)
Almost a mix-up as Younis sets off for a quick single from the non-striker’s end, before Sarfraz waves him back. The throw goes to the wrong end, though. Gah! Pakistan have used the short boundaries to their advantage, and Sarfraz does so again to close the over, glancing a Tahir delivery through fine leg for another four runs.
12th over: Pakistan 54-1 (Younis 14, Sarfraz 19)
Weary of fielding all by himself, and keen on extending his domination of all things cricket, AB de Villiers is going to have a bowl. Three dot balls, before Younis smacks a short ball for four. Sarfraz concludes an inauspicious over from de Villiers, hooking another ugly bouncer to the rope. Nine runs off that over; what was the point exactly, AB?
11th over: Pakistan 45-1 (Younis 9, Sarfraz 15)
Tahir comes in to bowl his first over, with the sun now bearing down on Eden Park. Another rick in the field, as Faf du Plessis lets an on drive from Younis roll under him and to the rope. You don’t see that often, and it’s giving Pakistan some much-needed confidence. Sarfraz nicks a quick ball from Tahir beyond third man for his second boundary. Ten runs from the over.
10th over: Pakistan 35-1 (Younis 4, Sarfraz 10)
Wily veteran Younis gets off the mark care of a fielding slip, before de Villiers scrambles to stop a cover drive reaching the boundary. A no ball from Morkel means a free hit for Younis, but he swings and misses! That’s a shame. Still slow and steady progress for Pakistan – well, it worked for the tortoise. You can’t deny that.
9th over: Pakistan 30-1 (Younis 0, Sarfraz 10)
Younis Khan strolls out to the crease; he’s another newcomer to the line up today, replacing Haris Sohail. Big breakthrough for South Africa - the difference in quality between the two sides in the field could be crucial today.
Dale Steyn makes a brilliant breakthrough for South Africa, but it’s not what you’re thinking. Moments after Shehzad drills an over-pitched Abbott delivery back down the ground for four, the Pakistani opener mis-times a chip over midwicket. Steyn races after it, dives full length, and hauls it in! Woof. Magnificent catch from Steyn, and he had to land on his face to do it.
8th over: Pakistan 26-0 (Shehzad 14, Sarfraz 10)
Credit where it’s due: Pakistan coach Waqar Younis has shaken up the top order, bringing Sarfraz in for the hopelessly out of touch Jamshed, and it’s paid off so far. It may help improve their fielding, too, which at times has bordered on comical.
7th over: Pakistan 25-0 (Shehzad 13, Sarfraz 10)
Sarfraz tucks away a back of a length ball from Abbott for a single, before Shehzad, after seeing out a few full deliveries from Abbott, clubs a short, straight ball over midwicket for four. Another single, plus a wide from Abbott, as the scoreboard starts to tick over for Pakistan at last.
6th over: Pakistan 18-0 (Shehzad 8, Sarfraz 9)
Morkel in for Abbott, varying his length and forcing Sarfraz to mistime his shots. A scrappy single, followed by a fierce bouncer that fair rockets down Shehzad’s off-side, and a short one that Shehzad ducks underneath. Only three an over for Pakistan’s openers, as they try and settle in.
5th over: Pakistan 17-0 (Shehzad 8, Sarfraz 8)
This is already Pakistan’s best opening partnership of the tournament. Good grief. It’s hardly been cool and composed from Shehzad and Sarfraz thus far – summed up in this over by Shehzad inadvertently flicking Steyn’s bouncing delivery for four, off the bottom of his bat. That could just have easily cleared his bails off. And yet, five overs down, and they’re still there. I guess that’s something.
4th over: Pakistan 12-0 (Shehzad 4, Sarfraz 7)
Another outside edge, this time from Sarfraz, floats out to third man for a single. Shehzad, no runs from 8 balls, now faces an examination from Abbott. A tidy off-drive brings up his first runs, and four of them. It’s an odd-shaped ground, Eden Park, and there’s scope for boundaries without swinging at everything – the boundary is less than 50m from the crease in places.
3rd over: Pakistan 7-0 (Shehzad 0, Sarfraz 6)
Steyn is homing in on Shehzad’s off stump, playing on a tendency for the batsman to push with the outside edge through to the slips. Steyn finds the edge but it can’t quite reach third slip. Maiden over from Steyn, who looks up for this.
2nd over: Pakistan 7-0 (Shehzad 0, Sarfraz 6)
Kyle Abbott is in now, despite apparently being dropped today – only for Vernon Philander to twang his hamstring in the warm up. A first boundary for Sarfraz, knocking a straightish delivery away beyond square leg, before tucking a fuller ball past mid-on for two. In between those two strokes, Roussow missed a run-out opportunity by a hair’s breadth. Big LBW appeal to finish the over, waved away by Richard Kettleborough, and the chance to review is passed up. Sarfraz was a long way out of his crease, so very difficult to give that out.
1st over: Pakistan 1-0 (Shehzad 0, Sarfraz 1)
Here we go then, with Dale Steyn getting movement immediately, twice coming close to Sarfraz’s outside edge. South Africa bring in an extra slip straight away, while Sarfraz works a single down the leg side. Shehzad fancies a run himself, but Sarfraz sends him back. David Miller sweeps up a short one from Shehzad, but misses the chance to catch Sarfraz out of his stumps. Imposing start from South Africa – just one from the over.
It’s anthem time. Not house anthems, just national ones. We’ll be underway in a few minutes. What’s a par score for Pakistan out here? South Africa may struggle to chase a total of 250+, and that would be respectable, given the conditions. The first few overs could be crucial if they’re to get anywhere near that.
Not a good start for Misbah – not only did he lose the toss, they got his name wrong on the team sheet...
Sarfraz Ahmed comes into the Pakistan team, and will take the wicketkeeper’s gloves from Umar Akmal, while Younis replaces Haris Sohail. Mohammed Irfan, the 7 foot tall quick bowler, is in the team despite fitness concerns.
Coin toss time
Misbah calls tails, but it’s heads. AB de Villiers decides to have a bowl first, proving me immediately wrong - the South Africa captain has had a look at the wicket, and the weather, which is fine but breezy as of now, and fancies a crack at Pakistan’s openers.
Who’s in the house? If you’re with me, let’s have your cricketing club classics. It may be Saturday lunchtime in New Zealand, but where I am, it’s always currently Friday night. I’ll start with an easy one...
As discussed, the weather could play a part today, although fears of a washout have been allayed. Right now, it looks like showers in four hours or so. Both sides, and Pakistan in particular, will surely be keen to bat first – chasing an imposing total in a disrupted second innings doesn’t sound like much fun.
Hello. Welcome to Match 29 of 49 in a tournament that’s starting to follow a familiar pattern. Surprises are getting scarce, as the big boys get into position for the big boy stuff. Quarter final match-ups are being pencilled in, and most conversation about the associate nations revolves around how they’ll ever get back to the tournament. When you need someone to shatter that creeping sense of inevitability, look no further than Pakistan and South Africa.
Mercurial performances have come to define the two teams; Pakistan, ever handed a talented but flawed bunch, hark back to the elusive winning formula of 1992, while South Africa, so often favourites, have so routinely disappointed. These two could conceivably have contested three World Cup finals already - in ‘92, when rain denied South Africa in the semis, and in 1999 and 2011, when the two sides topped their respective groups, only to come unstuck in the latter stages.
Court approves inquiry into dozens of senior leaders, including former president Fernando Collor, over kickbacks from the state-owned oil company, Petrobras
Brazil’s supreme court has approved the investigation of dozens of senior politicians, including a former president and leaders of congress, for alleged connections to what prosecutors call the country’s biggest ever corruption scandal.
In total, 54 people are to be investigated by the attorney general, including 21 federal deputies and 12 senators — though that figure is expected to grow as evidence is gathered on corruption involving the state energy company Petrobras.
The Football Association said it was willing to investigate after a victory for England Women over Australia was followed by allegations that a group of spectators from the British Army shouted sexist abuse during the game.
An Army contingent based in Cyprus attended England’s 3-0 win at the low-profile Cyprus Cup tournament in Nicosia on Friday.