CHENNAI: Keshav Maharaj held his nerve to carry the Proteas over the line and send them top of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 table with a thrilling one-wicket win over Pakistan at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Friday.

In one of the matches of the tournament thus far, South Africa dismissed their Asian counterparts for 270 thanks to four wickets from Tabraiz Shamsi (4/60) and three from Marco Jansen (3/43).

Aiden Markram then top-scored with 91 (93 balls, 7 fours, 3 sixes) to put his side on track for victory, before they slumped to 250 for eight when their star spinner walked into what appeared to be a desperate situation.

But he managed to hold up his end for 20 deliveries, before striking the 21st one to the boundary to nick a nail-biting victory – one that took Rob Walter’s side above hosts India to the top of the table, albeit having played a game more.

They now have four days off before taking on New Zealand in their next match in Pune on Wednesday. And they will go to that game having had their credentials fully tested in this latest outing at Chepauk.

They were put in to field first by Pakistan after losing the toss, but the bowlers did excellently in bowling out the struggling Asian side in 46.4 overs.

Saud Shakeel (52 off 52 balls, 7 fours) top scored for his team, with a half-century also for captain Babar Azam (50 off 65 balls, 4 fours, 1 six) – the performance by the pair helping keep Pakistan in a fair position during the first part of the innings.

But Shamsi’s strikes together with those of Jansen left them in trouble, before Shadab Khan (43) lifted them to a competitive total.

The Proteas made a solid enough start to the chase thanks to returning skipper Temba Bavuma (28), Quinton de Kock (24) and Rassie van der Dussen (21).

They reached 121 for two in the 19th over and then got to 206 for four and 250 for six, before the trouble began. That was the time when Markram fell attempting another big shot in the 41st over.

It was a nervy from thereon with Gerald Coetzee (10) next to follow on the same score and in the next over, and when Lungi Ngidi (4) was caught and bowled with 11 still needed, it looked like the end for South Africa.

But Maharaj together with Shamsi (4*) did just about enough to get their side home with 2.4 overs to spare.


Issued by: Cricket South Africa – Corporate Communications


Cricket South Africa (CSA), an affiliate of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and a full member of the International Cricket Council (ICC), is the national governing body for the sport of cricket in South Africa and administers all aspects of South African cricket, men and women, both in the professional and amateur spheres.