Ntini carries S.Africa to victory over Pakistan

LAHORE, Oct 18 (Reuters) Centuries from Herschelle Gibbs and AB de Villiers and a four-wicket burst by Makhaya Ntini led South Africa to a 45-run win over Pakistan in the first one-dayer at Gaddafi stadium today.

Ntini sliced through the top order with the new ball, taking four for 69 as Pakistan were bowled out for 249 in 46.3 overs in reply to South Africa's 294 for five.

The paceman struck in his second, third, fourth and sixth overs as the home team stumbled to 55 for four.

Mohammad Yousuf stood firm with 53 before Shahid Afridi belted 47 with five fours and two sixes to lead a late surge.

Afridi put on 43 for the eighth wicket in 25 balls with debutant Sohail Tanvir, who cracked two sixes in his 26.

''We know he (Afridi) is dangerous and it surprised us they left him so late,'' South Africa captain Graeme Smith told reporters. ''The game was a long way out of reach when he came in.

''We were always in control because when a team is seven or eight down it is pretty difficult to get back.'' After Charl Langeveldt removed Misbah-ul-Haq (20), Yousuf and Kamran Akmal (35) put on 60 for the sixth wicket.

Jacques Kallis then struck twice to have Yousuf caught at short mid-wicket by Smith and clean bowling Akmal.

Earlier, Gibbs (102) and de Villiers (103 not out) added 137 for the third wicket after South Africa chose to bat first.

The two batsmen went to three figures for the second successive one-dayer, after their centuries against Zimbabwe in Harare in August.

It was Gibbs's 18th hundred in his 214th match while Villiers brought up his third ODI century.

Gibbs was run out in the 43rd over, beaten by an accurate throw from square leg by Imran Nazir as he attempted a second run.

The second game in the five-match series is also in Lahore on Saturday.

Reuters BJR RN2041

Story first published: Thursday, October 18, 2007, 21:39 [IST]
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