LAHORE   -   Besides thousands of other cricket fans, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa yesterday watched the Green Caps crushed the Proteas out of the World Cup, in London.

Sunday’s contest with South Africa at the Lord’s Cricket Ground was crucial for Pakistan too to stay alive in the tournament and had a chance of making it to the semi-finals stage.

The Army Chief, who is currently in the United Kingdom on an official visit for meetings with senior British civil-military leadership, witnessed his team winning this do-or-die game by 49 runs.

Earlier, General Bajwa reached at the Lord’s accompanied by British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Director General Inter-Services Public Relations Major General Asif Ghafoor.

Pakistan had made a couple of changes for this match, resting Hasan Ali and Shoaib Malik, while bringing in Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Sohail in the playing XI.

Captain Sarfraz Ahmed won the toss and elected to bat first. “Looks like a good batting pitch and some grass cover on it,” he said before the start of the game. “We are not thinking about the pressure, just focusing on the game, which is very important for us,” Sarfraz said.

The batting side of Green Caps played well and secured 308 runs against seven wickets in the 50 overs.

Haris Sohail boosted Pakistan’s hopes of reaching the semi-finals with a blistering 89. Hitting nine fours and three sixes in his 59-ball blitz, he gave Pakistan a shot of adrenaline after Babar Azam’s more sedate 69 laid the foundations.

Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq lifted morale with a stand of 81 for the first wicket.

On the other hand, the Proteas had a panicky start as they reached 92 for two after 20 overs in pursuit of 309 target. But with three wickets from Shadab Khan and Wahab, and two from Amir, the team, in the end, was restricted to 259.

For just the second time in their history South Africa failed to reach the World Cup knockout stages after losing to fellow strugglers Pakistan.

Beaten by bitter rivals India in their last match, Pakistan’s players spent the past week involved in a series of spats with frustrated fans both in person and on social media.

With yesterday’s win, Pakistan still has a slender chance of reaching the last four, but the victory has re-infused spirit in the Pakistani cricket fans.