The Pakistan squad of 2015 is showing the kind of resilience that Imran Khan's lineup of 1992 needed to win the World Cup title.
This time the comeback is on Misbah-ul-Haq's watch, the veteran batsman holding firm again as Pakistan beat South Africa on yesterday by 29 runs in Auckland, New Zealand under the Duckworth-Lewis system for rain-affected games.
In the other match, Ireland stayed in the hunt for a quarterfinal place and all but ended Zimbabwe's chances for the final eight with a five-run win at Hobart, Tasmania.
After posting 331-8 which featured an Ed Joyce century and 97 runs from Andy Balbirnie, Ireland endured a nervous defense of its total as Zimbabwe also passed 300.
Brendan Taylor scored an impressive 121 from 91 balls while Sean Williams added 96 before Alex Cusack took two of his four wickets in the last over to clinch victory for the Irish.
The win moved Ireland into fourth place in Pool B, level on six points each with South Africa and Pakistan but behind on net run rate.
"They held their nerve for longer periods and the team that panics first generally falls short, full credit to Ireland," Taylor said. "They're a hungry side and they're a very passionate team so there's no reason why they can't prove to the world that they're a force to be reckoned with."
Pakistan wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed won man-of-the-match honors after scoring a run-a-ball 49 and then equaled the world record for a one-day match by taking six catches in the win over South Africa.
Pakistan lost its first two matches by big margins, but has now won three in a row heading into its last group match against Ireland.
In 1992, the last time the World Cup was co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, Pakistan rallied from a series of losses and a lucky wash-out in the group stage to win the title against expectations.
After losing the toss and being sent in to bat in Auckland, Pakistan scored just 222 in its rain-shortened innings with Misbah scoring a half century, and seemed to be headed for defeat against a South Africa lineup that had posted 400-plus totals in its two previous wins.
The South Africans–needing 232 to win under revised target from 47 overs–raced to 67-1 after nine overs but then collapsed, losing five wickets for 35 runs.
AB de Villiers stroked 77 off 58 balls in a rearguard innings, but it wasn't quite enough as the team was all out for 202.
Sarfraz was only brought into the starting 11 in Saturday's game as a replacement for struggling opener Nasir Jamshed.
In its previous matches, Pakistan had relied on makeshift keeper Umar Akmal, who had dropped a number of catches but whose batting skills were considered vital. (AP)
Pakistan vs South Africa
Pakistan 1st Innings
S Ahmed run out 49
A Shehzad c Steyn b Abbott 18
Y Khan c Rossouw b de Villiers 37
M Niazi c M Morkel b Steyn 56
S Maqsood c Rossouw b Abbott 8
U Akmal c de Villiers b M Morkel 13
S Afridi c Duminy b Steyn 22
W Riaz lbw b Tahir 0
S Khan c Duminy b M Morkel 3
R Ali c Tahir b Steyn 1
M Irfan not out 1
Extras: 1nb, 6w, 0b, 7lb 14
TOTAL: (all out: 46.4 overs) 222
Fall of Wickets: 1-30, 2-92, 3-132, 4-156, 5-175, 6-212, 7-212, 8-218 , 9-221, 10-222
Bowling: D Steyn 10-3-30-3, K Abbott 9-0-45-2, M Morkel 9.4-0-25-2, M Tahir 9-1-38-1, A B de Villiers 6-0-43-1, J Duminy 3-0-34-0
South Africa 1st Innings
Q de Kock c Ahmed b Iqbal 0
H M Amla c Ahmed b Riaz 38
F du Plessis c Ahmed b Ali 27
R Rossouw c Khan b Riaz 6
A B de Villiers c Ahmed b Khan 77
D Miller lbw b Ali 0 13
J P Duminy c Riaz b Iqbal 12
D W Steyn c Ahmed b Iqbal 16
K Abbott c Khan b Ali 12
M Morkel not out 6
M Tahir c Ahmed b Riaz 0
Extras: (0nb, 7w, 0b, 1lb) 8
Total: (all out; 33.3 overs) 202
Fall of Wickets: 1-0, 2-67, 3-67, 4-74, 5-77, 6-102, 7-138, 8-172, 9-200, 10-202
Bowling: M Irfan 8-0-52-3, Sohail Khan 5-0-36-1, R Ali 8-1-40-3, S Afridi 5-0-28-0 Wahab Riaz 7.3-2-45-3
Result: Pakistan won by 29 runs
Toss: South Africa, who chose to field
Player of the match:
Sarfraz Ahmed (Pakistan)
Zimbabwe vs Ireland
Zimbabwe 1st Innings
C Chibhabha c Porterfield b Cusack 18
S Butt c Stirling b Mooney 12
S Mire c Cusack b Dockrell 11
H Masakadza c Wilson b O'Brien 5
B Taylor c O'Brien b Cusack 121
S Williams c Mooney b O'Brien 96
C Ervine c O'Brien b McBrine 11
R Chakabva b Cusack 17
T Panyangara c Porter b Mooney 5
T Mupariwa c Porterfield b Cusack 18
T Chatara not out 1
Extras: (1nb, 2w, 0b, 8lb) 11
TOTAL: (all out; 49.3 overs) 326
Fall of Wickets: 1-32, 2-32, 3-41, 4-74, 5-223, 6-259, 7-300, 8-305, 9-325, 10-326
Bowling: A Cusack 9.3-2-32-4, J Mooney 10-0-58-2, K O'Brien 10-0-90-2, G Dockrell 10-0-56-1, A McBrine 8-0-56-1, P Stirling 2-0-26-0
Ireland 1st Innings
W Pfield c Masakadza b Williams 29
P Stirling c Williams b Panyangara 10
E Joyce c Ervine b Chatara 112
A Balbirnie run out 97
K O'Brien c Chakabva b Chatara 24
G Wilson c Chakabva b Williams 25
J Mooney b Williams 10
N O'Brien c Panyangara b Chatara 2
G Dockrell not out 5
A Cusack not out 2
Did not bat: A McBrine
Extras: (3nb, 8w, 0b, 4lb) 15
TOTAL: (for 8; 50 overs) 331
Fall of Wickets: 1-16, 2-79, 3-217, 4-276, 5-308, 6-319, 7-322, 8-326
Bowling: T Panyangara 9-0-69-1, T Chatara 10-0-61-3, T Mupariwa 10-0-56-0, S Butt 9-0-51-0, S Williams 9-0-72-3, H Masakadza 3-0-18-0
Result: Ireland win by 5 runs
Toss: Zimbabwe, who chose to field
Player of the match: Ed Joyce (Ireland)