Recalled after four matches, the left-hander made amends by smashing a 59-ball 89 (9×4, 3×6) to help the team script a convincing 50-run win in a do-or-die game against South Africa at Lord’s on Sunday.
With just their second win from six games, Pakistan managed to stay alive in the tournament. The defeat, their fifth in this tournament, on the other hand sent South Africa crashing out.
On Sunday, Pakistan dropped at least five catches, but then produced a moment of brilliance as pacer Wahab Riaz sent Chris Morris back with a curving yorker that crashed into the bottom of the leg stump. Wahab took two more scalps with his deadly fuller deliveries.
Apart from Sohail, Babar Azam (69, 80b, 7×4), leggie Shadab Khan (3-50) and Mohammad Aamir (2-49) contributed handsomely to Pakistan’s morale boosting win. With 15 wickets under his belt, Amir, now the leading wicket-taker in this World Cup along with Jofra Archer and Mitchell Starc, sizzled again. He could’ve had a third, but dropped David Miller of his own bowling.
Sohail’s power-packed play at No. 5 was exactly what Pakistan was missing in their defeats against India and Australia. After Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman, who scored 44 each, provided the side with a fluent 81-run start in 89 balls, Babar and Sohail, who scored his maiden World Cup fifty, added 81 in just 68 balls, as the middle order provided momentum to the innings. Towards the end, allrounder Imad Wasim chipped in with a 15-ball 23 to boost the total.
The Proteas again suffered due to the poor form of their star pacers, Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi. Rabada was taken for 65 off his 10 overs, while Ngidi took three wickets, but conceded 64.