CENTURION: Pakistan’s Fakhar Zaman struck a blazing half-century as they survived a scare to seal a three-wicket victory over depleted South Africa with a ball to spare at SuperSport Park and win the four-match Twenty20 International series 3-1 on Friday.
South Africa, missing most of their regular players either through injury or having been released to play in the Indian Premier League, were sent in to bat but could only muster 144 all out in 19.3 overs.
Fakhar then blasted 60 from 34 balls in Pakistan’s reply as he put on 91 for the second wicket with captain Babar Azam (24 from 23), and at that stage the tourists were cruising to victory needing 53 from 65 balls with nine wickets in hand.
But when both were out in one over from seamer Lizaad Williams (2-39), a flurry of wickets and some tight bowling brought South Africa back into the game.
The winning runs were eventually scored by Mohammad Nawaz (25 from 21) as he hooked Williams to the mid-wicket boundary for six off the penultimate ball of the match to complete a memorable series win.
Only three players reached double figures in South Africas innings, with Rassie van der Dussen (52 from 36) and Janneman Malan (33 from 28) the major contributors, as Pakistan medium-pace bowler Faheem Ashraf sparked a collapse.
Faheem took three for 17 as South Africa, who were put into bat after losing the toss, were bowled out for 144 on what is usually a high-scoring ground.
South Africa had reached 73 for one after the early loss of Aiden Markram when Faheem had Malan caught at mid-off in the ninth over.
Faheem followed up with the wickets of South African captain Heinrich Klaasen and George Linde. He bowled his four overs in succession and did not concede a boundary.
Fast bowlers Hasan Ali and Haris Rauf took three for 40 and two for 18 respectively.
Pakistan chased down a target of 204 with nine wickets and two overs to spare on the same ground two days earlier. Their captain Babar , who scored 122 in that run chase, named an unchanged side while South Africa made two changes. All-rounder Wiaan Mulder and left-arm spinner Bjorn Fortuin came into the side, replacing batsman Pite van Biljon and left-arm fast bowler Beuran Hendricks.
J.N. Malan c Fakhar b Faheem 33
A.K. Markram lbw b Nawaz 11
H.E. van der Dussen c Hafeez b Haris 52
H. Klaasen c Shaheen b Faheem 9
G.F. Linde c Rizwan b Faheem 3
P.W.A. Mulder c Babar b Hasan 6
A.L. Phehlukwayo c Rizwan b Hasan 1
S.S.B. Magala c Fakhar b Hasan 7
B.C. Fortuin c Babar b Shaheen 8
L.B. Williams not out 2
T. Shamsi c Rizwan b Haris 0
EXTRAS (B-4, LB-6, W-1 NB-1) 12
TOTAL (all out, 19.3 overs) 144
FALL OF WKTS: 1-16 (Markram), 2-73 (Malan), 3-109 (Klaasen), 4-112 (van der Dussen), 5-119 (Linde), 6-121 (Mulder), 7-122 (Phehlukwayo), 8-141 (Magala), 9-142 (Fortuin), 10-144 (Shamsi).
BOWLING: Shaheen Shah Afridi 4-0-19-1; Mohammad Nawaz 4-0-40-1; Haris Rauf 3.3-0-18-2 Hasan Ali 4-0-40-3 (1nb, 1w); Faheem Ashraf 4-0-17-3.
Mohammad Rizwan st Klaasen b Fortuin 0
Babar Azam c Shamsi b Williams 24
Fakhar Zaman c Mulder b Williams 60
Mohammad Hafeez c Williams b Shamsi 10
Haider Ali c Fortuin b Phehlukwayo 3
Asif Ali c and b Magala 5
Faheem Ashraf c Markram b Magala 7
Mohammad Nawaz not out 25
Hasan Ali not out 2
EXTRAS (LB-2, W-7, NB-4) 13
TOTAL (for seven wkts, 19.5 overs) 149
FALL OF WKTS: 1-1 (Rizwan), 2-92 (Fakhar), 3-98 (Babar), 4-104 (Haider), 5-110 (Hafeez), 6-115 (Asif), 7-129 (Faheem).
DID NOT BAT: Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf.
BOWLING: Fortuin 3-0-26-1 (1w); Mulder 2-0-14-0 (1w); Williams 3.5-0-39-2 (1nb 2w); Magala 4-0-33-2 (3nb, 1w); Shamsi 4-0-21-1 (1w); Phehlukwayo 2-0-11-1 (1w); Linde 1-0-3-0.
RESULT: Pakistan won by three wickets to win four-match series 3-1.
UMPIRES: S. George (South Africa) and A.T. Holdstock (South Africa)
TV UMPIRE: A. Palekar (South Africa)
MATCH REFEREE: A.J. Pycroft (Zimbabwe).
MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: Faheem Ashraf.
MAN-OF-THE-SERIES: Babar Azam
FIRST MATCH: Johannesburg, Pakistan won by four wickets.
SECOND MATCH: Johannesburg, South Africa won by six wickets.
THIRD MATCH: Centurion, Pakistan won by nine wickets.
Published in Dawn, April 17th, 2021