Auckland- Pakistan struggled to 222 from 46.4 overs in their rain-reduced cricket World Cup Pool B match against South Africa at Eden Park on Saturday after their top-order batsmen failed to capitalise on promising starts.

South Africa were set a target of 232 to win from 47 overs on the Duckworth-Lewis method.

Captain Misbah-ul-Haq once again anchored his team's batting with 56 off 86 balls while Dale Steyn was the pick of the South African bowlers, taking three for 30 from his 10 overs and bowling with fierce pace and control from both ends.

With rain forecast later in the day, AB de Villiers asked Pakistan to bat and opener Sarfraz Ahmed looked to be taking charge when he lofted off-spinner JP Duminy, who had returned after injury, over wide long on for three sixes in an over.

In the following over, though, he was run out for 49 attempting a risky second run which would have brought up his half-century following sharp work by David Miller at square leg.

His opening partner Ahmed Shahzad had already perished for 18 courtesy of a spectacular diving catch by Steyn running backwards at mid-on.

The experienced Younus Khan, returning to the Pakistan side in place of the injured Haris Sohail, reached 37 when he poked de Villiers's gentle medium pace to Rilee Rossouw at cover.

Sohaib Maqsood followed for eight with an equally tame catch to the same fielder at point.

Umar Akmal was caught for 13 by de Villiers falling backwards at mid-wicket and a rain squall then swept the field, forcing the players off for 28 minutes.

On their return Shahid Afridi struck leg-spinner Imran Tahir over long off for six before a further break after when he swiped Steyn for another six before being caught off the same bowler for 22.

Misbah was caught on the third man boundary off Steyn and the tail succumbed tamely against the South African pace bowlers.