Birmingham: South Africa's weakened bowling attack revived the team's Champions Trophy hopes on Monday, running through Pakistan for 167 to clinch a 67-run win at Edgbaston on Monday.
The Pakistanis' second straight loss in Group B leaves them on the brink of elimination, with their flimsy batting lineup collapsing despite South Africa being without injured strike bowlers Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel and protecting a meager 234 for 9 on a good pitch.
In front of raucous support from the large Pakistani community in Birmingham, Misbah-ul-Haq (55) was the only batsman to provide any resistance as Ryan McLaren grabbed 4 for 19 and Chris Morris took 2 for 25 on his ODI debut. Pakistan must now beat fierce rival India on Saturday to have any chance of making the semi-finals.
In pursuit of 235 against South Africa at Edgbaston, Pakistan could only manage 167 all out to suffer their second consecutive defeat.
Opener Hashim Amla led the scoring with a measured 81 for South Africa. The Proteas' chances suddenly look much rosier than they did a few days ago - particularly with Steyn back in the nets and potentially returning from a side strain in time for Friday's make-or-break match against the West Indies.
AB de Villiers and Amla are the top two batsmen in the world's ODI rankings and they underlined their importance to the side again. Amla made the most of being dropped by the recalled Umar Amin when on 7 to deliver a composed innings sprinkled with nine fours. He departed with his 12th ODI century in sight, messing up a reverse sweep off Saeed Ajmal to send the ball looping to short third man. But at 145 for 3 after 32 overs, the Proteas still looked in good shape.
They soon imploded, though, with four of their six wickets being lost to run-outs. Two came from Muhammad Hafeez, who removed De Villiers for a run-a-ball 31 just as the captain was starting to blossom, and then JP Duminy 13 balls later.
Misbah capped a brilliant fielding display by diving to his left at extra cover to snaffle David Miller (19) in the final ball of the next-to-last over. With Wahab Riaz conceding just three runs in the last over, the target looked very reachable on a lifeless track under brightening skies.
Pakistan's reply began painfully slowly, however, needing 19.1 overs to get to 50 with Imran Farhat (2), Hafeez (7) and Shoaib Malik (8) all going cheaply - the first two to the accurate Morris. The crowd - so boisterous before the match and during South Africa's innings - quickly fell relatively silent but was woken up by Misbah, who continued where he left off in scoring 96 against West Indies.
His half-century included three fours and a huge, arrowed six down the ground but he was running out of partners when he drove to Amla at mid-wicket, making it 148 for 7 and virtually ending Pakistan chances.
McLaren cleaned up the tail to claim his best figures in ODIs and leave Pakistan's tournament hopes in tatters.