SA, Pak semi-final on knife-edge as rain makes India wait

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Kuala Lumpur, Feb 29 (UNI) India must wait until tomorrow morning to find out who it will face in the ICC U/19 Cricket World Cup 2008 final as rain played spoilsport, interupting a finely poisd semi-final between South Africa and Pakistan here today.

The rain, which has had little impact on the tournament so far, fell with great force tonight just as the match was turning into a potential classic. Since the minimum of 20 overs was not completed, the match will resume tomorrow with 47 overs of the Pakistan innings still to be played .

South Africa, who were put in to bat, piled up 260-8 off their alotted 50 overs thanks to creditable half-centuries from J Smuts (58), Rilee Rossouw (53) and Jonathan Vandiar (50) while Imad Wasim was the most successful among the Pakistan bowlers with figures of 3/44.

Smuts and Pieter Malan got the junior Proteas off to a solid start, putting on 35 before Malan was caught behind off the bowling of Adil Raza for 15.

Smuts and Rossouw then put on 71 for the second wicket as Pakistan struggled to keep the free-scoring batsmen under wraps.

Once Smuts was out, Vandiar took up the mantle, hitting a fine run-a-ball half-century in a knock that included five boundaries.

But the Pakistan bowlers fought hard and no one more so than captain Imad Wasim. The left-arm slow bowler was ably supported by Ahmad Shahzad (2-35 off eight overs).

Pakistan, however, began their chase in a shaky manner, losing opener Umar Akmal and number three Shaan Khan with just 15 runs on the board. But Ahmad Shahzad and Umar Amin took charge of the innings and put together a good partnership in the face of some fine SA bowling, particularly from left-arm medium pacer Wayne Parnell, who was getting the new ball to swing in prodigiously into the right-handers.

With the score at 61-2, the heavens opened up and three overs were deducted from the Pakistan innings before it was possible to retake the field with the target adjusted accordingly to 252.

Shahzad and Amin then brought the score up to 86-2 off 18.5 overs before the rain started with renewed vigour and no more play was possible on the drenched Kinrara Oval.

SA's total could yet prove to be a winning one as Pakistan will have to bat very well to get through to its third U/19 CWC final in a row.

Meanwhile, at Johor Cricket Academy, Ireland registered its first win of the tournament with a 69-run victory over Bermuda in the semi-final of the Plate Championship play-off.

Having been beaten by Bermuda in the group stage, Ireland was clearly out for revenge and managed to amass a competitive total of 236-7 off 50 overs.

In reply, Bermuda chased well before leg-spinner Greg Thompson (5/26) ripped through their batting line-up as Ireland emerged victorious by 69 runs.

Scores in brief: Super League Semi-Final 2 At Kinrara Oval, Kuala Lumpur, rain stopped play - match will resume tomorrow with revised target of 252 to win off 47 overs South Africa 260-8, 50 overs (JJ Smuts 58, Rilee Rossouw 53, Jonathan Vandiar 50, Reeza Hendricks 27 not out; Imad Wasim 3-44, Ahmad Shahzad 2-35) Pakistan 86-2, 18.5 overs (Ahmad Shahzad 44 not out, Umar Amin 22 not out; Wayne Parnell 2-39) Plate Championship Play-Off Semi-Final 2 At Johor Cricket Academy, Ireland beat Bermuda by 69 runs Ireland 236-7, 50 overs (James Hall 75, Paul Stirling 59; Rodney Trott 4-39, Tre Govia 2-37) Bermuda 167 all out, 48.1 overs (Rodney Trott 53, Malachi Jones 49; Greg Thompson 5-26, Andrew Britten 2-21) UNI XC AB KP2218

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