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SHARJAH: Captain Misbah-ul-Haq says Pakistan's trouncing in the one-day series against South Africa is an ominous sign before the 2015 World Cup.

Pakistan went down by 117 runs in the fifth and final match in Sharjah on Monday, losing the series 4-1.

Batting was once again the problem with Pakistan, chasing a target of 269, folding for 151 in 35.3 overs.

Misbah said the consistent batting failures are worrying.

“As a captain this is very difficult for me and these are worrying signs for me before the World Cup 2015,” he said after the match.

Pakistan have been let down by their batsmen since their 3-0 Test rout in South Africa. They also lost the one-day series 3-2 in February-March this year.

In June they lost all three of their matches in the Champions Trophy in England, and despite their one-day win in the West Indies the batting remains a headache.

In September Pakistan lost a one-day game and a Test match against cricketing minnows Zimbabwe.

“Every player has got adequate chances, more than two series, and yet they are not performing and it's a big worry,” the captain said.

“But rather making a big hue and cry over it we must sit down and think seriously about it.”

“As captain you are responsible,” said Misbah, who took over as Test captain in 2010 and one-day skipper in 2011.

Asked if he wants to keep the captaincy until the 2015 World Cup, he replied: “I always say this and I maintain that I want to play as long as I am fit.”

Misbah's counterpart AB de Villier said victory in the one-day series is a step in the right direction before the World Cup, to be jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand.

The captain, who hit an unbeaten 115 on Monday, said the victory had lifted the Proteas after their 4-1 loss in Sri Lanka in July.

“We really hit an all-time low in Sri Lanka and moving up from there is pleasing to me and the coaching staff and the whole team,” he said.

Batting was tough on a slow Sharjah stadium pitch.

“It was one of the harder innings that I have played up until 60-70 runs. It was bloody difficult,” he said.

“Facing (Mohammad) Irfan there -- he was beating the bat -- was difficult. Saeed Ajmal was bowling well and (Shahid) Afridi bowled an amazing spell and I felt I couldn't get the ball off the square.

“But once I hit a couple in the middle in the 42 and 43rd overs it felt really good and I took my opportunity and followed through nicely,” De Villiers said of his 102-ball knock studded with ten boundaries and three sixes.

The teams now play two Twenty20s in Dubai on Wednesday and Friday.

SHARJAH: AB de Villiers stormed to an unbeaten century to help South Africa beat Pakistan convincingly by 117 runs in the fifth and final one-dayer in Sharjah on Monday, winning the five-match series 4-1.

De Villiers scored 115 from 102 balls with ten boundaries and three sixes, his 15th one-day hundred, to lift South Africa to an imperious 268-7 before bowling Pakistan out for 151 in 35.3 overs.

Sohaib Maqsood top-scored with a solid 53 but otherwise Pakistan failed to capitalise on a weakened South African bowling attack, with spearheads Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, and spinner Imran Tahir rested for the meaningless match as the series had already been decided.

De Villiers said it was satisfying to win the series after the team's 4-1 loss in Sri Lanka in July.

“It is satisfying to win the series and I think the players played exceptionally well throughout the series and played as a unit,” said De Villiers.

“It was tough to bat on this pitch but I hung on and we were thinking of 220-plus, but in the end we got a good total.”

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul Haq rued another batting failure.

“I think they played very well,” said Misbah.

“They deserved this win and it was the same old batting collapse. We have to seriously think about this.”

Pakistan were 8-2 with Ahmed Shehzad (two) and Mohammad Hafeez (six) by the fifth over, once again highlighting their top-order failure in the series.

It was Maqsood, who hit 56 on his debut in Abu Dhabi on Friday, who gave some consolation to another lackluster batting effort with a 63-ball half-century before he became one of two victims for Jean-Paul Duminy, who finished with 2-14. Wayne Parnell finished with 3-36.

Umar Akmal made 30 while Misbah managed 18. Shahid Afridi (nine) and Umar Amin (five) failed once more as South Africa took the last six wickets for a mere 41 runs.

South Africa won the toss and batted on a slow Sharjah stadium pitch.

De Villiers lifted the tempo in the final overs, hitting Sohail Tanvir's final over for 25 runs, reaching his hundred with a four towards mid-wicket, which came off 99 balls.

He then hit the left-armer for six, four and four to help South Africa add 114 in the last ten overs.

At 105 he also completed 6,000 one-day runs, becoming the fifth South African batsmen to reach the milestone. Jacques Kallis (11,469), Herschelle Gibbs (8094), Graeme Smith (6976) and Gary Kirsten (6798) were others to score 6,000 or more one-day runs for South Africa.

De Villiers was initially slow, reaching his fifty off 70 balls, with a big six off Saeed Ajmal towards mid-wicket. He added an invaluable 83 for the sixth wicket with Ryan McLaren (27) before lashing out in the final overs.

De Villiers had built the innings with an invaluable 62-run stand for the fourth wicket with Faf du Plessis, who made an 89-ball 46 with the help of two boundaries.

Quinton de Kock (34) added 50 with Du Plessis after Hashim Amla fell in the first over of the innings for three. Ajmal finished with 3-45 while Khan took 2-57.

South Africa won the first match by one run in Sharjah before Pakistan levelled the series with a 66-run win in Dubai. South Africa then won both the matches in Abu Dhabi by 68 and 28 runs respectively.

The two teams now play Twenty20 internationals in Dubai on Wednesday and Friday.

KAKAMIGAHARA: Defending champions, Pakistan, on Sunday retained its title defeating hosts Japan by a margin of two goals in the final match of the third Asian Champions Trophy field hockey tournament being played in Japan's Kakamighara city, DawnNews reported.

The Japanese team took an aggressive start scoring one goal to take the lead in the first half.

Pakistan replied with a comeback in the second half scoring three goals before the 66th minute.

The green-shirts had remained unbeaten in the tournament defeating Omman, Malaysia, China and India in the group stage matches.

The previous match played between Pakistan and Japan, during the group stages, had ended in a 1-1 draw.

Malaysia secured the third position in the tournament.

CAPE TOWN: South Africa will host Pakistan in a short limited-overs series this month to make up for India's decision to curtail its end-of-year tour.

Cricket South Africa said on Tuesday that Pakistan would play three one-day internationals and two Twenty20s and arrive in South Africa on Nov. 18, straight after the teams' current series in United Arab Emirates.

India was due to tour for two months from late November for three Tests, seven ODIs and two T20s. The Board of Control for Cricket in India rejected that schedule and the Indians will now play just two tests and three ODIs.

CSA said chief executive Haroon Lorgat was flying to Dubai later Tuesday to meet with the Pakistan Cricket Board to agree on exact dates.

DUBAI: Dashing all-rounder Shahid Afridi on Sunday showed confidence Pakistan can pull off a one-day series win despite the return of Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn in the South African squad for the last three matches.

Afridi starred with 3-26 to add to his 20-ball 26 in Pakistan’s comprehensive 66-run win in the second One-day International here on Friday which levelled the five-match series at 1-1.

Pakistan spurned a golden opportunity to win the first match in Sharjah last Wednesday, going down by one run from a winning position.

But Afridi, 33, said the way their bowlers were performing Pakistan can win the series.

“There is no doubt Amla and Steyn will strengthen South Africa but the way our bowlers are doing, I am sure we can beat South Africa,” Afridi told reporters.

Amla returned to Dubai on Sunday after missing the second Test and the first two one-day games due to the birth of his child back home.

Steyn is likely to join the squad in time for the third match in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday after returning home for a rest before the one-day series.

Besides Afridi, off-spinner Saeed Ajmal took 2-15 and paceman Mohammad Irfan claimed 3-53 in the second match.

Afridi brushed aside criticism of failing to guide Pakistan to a win when only 19 runs were needed when he walked into bat in the first match.

“I got a bad ball which I hit and got out, it could have been a six,” said Afridi who made only nine in that match.

“It’s not Afridi versus South Africa, its Pakistan versus South Africa,” said Afridi, who so far has 365 wickets in 364 matches.

He also has 7,395 runs, including a world record 37-ball hundred made against Sri Lanka in 1996.

Afridi said he was enjoying being part of Pakistan’s squad.

“I am enjoying the game,” said Afridi.“This current team is a mix of seniors and juniors and I am feeling younger with each passing day.”

Afridi said he hoped Pakistan’s batting will click in the remaining matches.

“The batting needs to be improved, its a matter of applying ourselves,” said Afridi.

The fourth match will also be played in Abu Dhabi on Friday while the fifth and final match will be held in Sharjah on Nov 11.—AFP

DUBAI: Pakistan won the second day-night international against South Africa by 66 runs in Dubai on Friday, to level the five-match series at 1-1.

Pakistan were bowled out for 209 in 49.4 overs with Ahmed Shehzad top-scoring with 58 while Ryan McLaren (4-34) and Mornke Morkel (3-38) shared the bowling honours.

South Africa could not cope against Pakistan's slow bowlers as they were dismissed for 143 in 40.4 overs. McLaren top-scored with 29 not out.

South Africa won the first one-dayer in Sharjah by one run.

The remaining matches will be played in Abu Dhabi (November 6 and 8) and in Sharjah (November 11).

Brief scores: Pakistan 209 in 49.4 overs (Ahmed Shehzad 58; R. McLaren 4-34, M. Morkel 3-38); South Africa 143 in 40.4 overs (R. McLaren 29 not out, Shahid Afridi 3-26, Mohammad Irfan 3-53).

Teams: Pakistan: Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Irfan, Nasir Jamshed, Saeed Ajmal, Shahid Afridi, Sohail Tanvir, Umar Akmal, Umar Amin, Wahab Riaz

South Africa: AB de Villiers (capt), Coiln Ingram, Jean-Paul Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, Ryan McLaren, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Graeme Smith, Lonwabo Tsotsobe

Umpires: Steve Davis (AUS) and Shozab Raza (PAK) TV umpire: Richard Illingworth (ENG) Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle (SRI)

SHARJAH: South Africa staged a remarkable comeback to turn what seemed certain defeat into a one-run win over Pakistan in the first day-night international in Sharjah on Wednesday.

Pakistan, chasing a modest 184 to win, were cruising along nicely at 165-4 but lost their last six wickets for just 17 runs off 39 balls to be bowled out for 182 in 46.3 overs.

It looked all over with Umar Amin (20) and Umar Akmal (18) at the crease but leg-spinner Imran Tahir (3-45) dismissed Umar, Shahid Afridi (nine) and Wahab Riaz (zero) in succsessive overs to leave Pakistan struggling for the last seven runs.

Last man Mohammad Irfan and Saeed Ajmal added five runs before Morne Morkel (2-23) bowled Irfan to send his team into an unexpected but frenzied celebration, much to the dismay of the 15,000 crowd who came to see Pakistan win.

It was man-of-the-match Wayne Parnell who starred with both bat and ball, hitting a career best 56 before taking 3-41 in his eight overs.

South African captain AB de Villiers said his team had the belief of turning the tables. “South Africans always believe we can turn things around. When you get a sniff you have to drive it home,” said De Villiers.

His Pakistan counterpart Misbah-ul Haq was disappointed at losing when victory seemed certain.

“We could not handle the pressure, some relaxed shots that cost us the match,” he said.

“Our focus should be to be there till the last run is scored, the batting spoiled the party.

We have to forget this game and improve for the next one.”

For Pakistan off-spinner Ajmal (4-30) was well supported by leg-spinner Afridi (3-37) as South Africa were bowled out in the final over.

The win gives South Africa a 1-0 lead in the five-match series with the second match in Dubai on Friday.

Pakistan lost opener Nasir Jamshed (nought) early but Shehzad (58) and Mohammad Hafeez (28) shared a 71-run stand for the second wicket to stablise the run-chase.

Even when Hafeez fell, Pakistan never looked in trouble as Misbah (31) and Shehzad took Pakistan to 135 when the innings started to fall apart with Misbah dismissed by Parnell.

The Pakistan skipper hit three fours off 49 balls. When on 28 he reached 4,000 one-day runs with a flurry of boundaries off Tahir. He became the 13th Pakistani batsmen to reach the milestone in his 129th match.

It was Shehzad who set the tone for a successful chase, hitting five boundaries in his 92-ball innings.

But once Shehzad and Misbah fell, South Africa sensed an unexpected victory as batsmen fell one after the other.

When South Africa batted after winning the toss, they could never recover from the early loss of opener Colin Ingram, caught off Irfan's second ball of the innings for nought.

Ajmal then rocked the South African batting, dimissing Graeme Smith (20), Faf du Plessis (12) and De Villiers (four) in his first spell of six overs.

Afridi then jolted South Africa further by taking Ryan McLaren (eight), David Miller (37) and Morkel (four) in his nine overs.

Parnell, who hit a century in South Africa's domestic one-day competition earlier this month, hit six boundaries and a six off 70 balls and added an invaluable 52 for the ninth wicket with Lonwabo Tsotsobe (16 not out) to avoid a complete disaster.

Parnell holed out in the 49th over, caught off Ajmal before Sohail Tanvir dismissed Imran Tahir in the final over.

Parnell's wicket was Ajmal's 150th in his 93rd one-day match, becoming Pakistan's 11th bowler to reach the milestone.

Tsotsobe hit a four and a six off Ajmal in the 45th over, crossing the double-figure mark for the first time in 52 matches.

Miller hit two boundaries and a six off 51 balls before falling to Afridi, leaving Parnell to repair the damage to some extent.

Parnell's previous best of 49 was against India at Jaipur three years ago

Brief Scores: South Africa 183 in 49.5 overs (W. Parnell 56; Saeed Ajmal 4-30, Shahid Afridi 3-30), Pakistan 182 in 46.3 overs (Ahmed Shehzad 58; W.Parnell 3-41)

Teams:

South Africa: Colin Ingram, Graeme Smith, JP Duminy, AB de Villiers (capt), Faf du Plessis, David Miller, Ryan McLaren, Wayne Parnell, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.

Pakistan: Ahmed Shehzad, Nasir Jamshed, Mohammad Hafeez, Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Umar Amin, Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Sohail Tanvir, Wahab Riaz, Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Irfan

Umpires: Richard Illingworth (ENG) and Shozab Raza (PAK) TV umpire: Steve Davis (AUS) ICC match referee: Ranjan Madugalle (SRI)

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