Pakistan clinch South Africa ODI series
Backed by batting genius of Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam and fireworks of Hasan Ali, Pakistan bowlers Wednesday won the third ODI and series against South Africa through a disciplined effort at SuperSport Park in Centurion.
Pakistan won the match by 28 runs to clinch the series 2-1, consolidating their position on the ICC World Cup 2022 Qualifications table.
Debutant leg-spinner Usman Qadir and slow left-arm M Nawaz squeezed South African innings in the middle overs to derail the fluent chase of South Africa on a pitch that was coming better and better for the batsmen.
Openers Janneman Malan and Aiden Markram scored 54 runs for the first wicket before Shaheen Shah Afridi broke the partnership on the last ball of the ninth over when wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed took Markram catch. He scored 18 runs.
Introducing Usman means the run-flow halted for the Proteas, and soon next batsman in JJ Smuts became Usman’s first ODI wicket after scoring 17 runs. Malan continued to build his innings and mustered another 50-run partnership with captain Bavuma before Nawaz got the wickets of both set batsmen in 24th over. Malan scored 70 runs off 81 balls and Bavuma 20 runs. Heinrich Klaasen became the next victim of Nawaz and South Africans were reduced to 140-5 in 29 overs.
However, Kyle Verreynne and Andile Phehlukwayo took the game to Pakistan as both added 108-run partnership for the sixth wicket. When things started looking grim for Pakistan, Haris Rauf broke the partnership when he removed Verreynne who scored 62 runs off 53 balls including three sixes and three fours. In the next over, when Hasan removed Phehlukwayo (54 off 61), the match was virtually won by Pakistan.
Shaheen took two more wickets and Haris one as South Africa were bundled out for 292. Shaheen (3-58) and Nawaz (3-34) were the most successful bowlers for Pakistan followed by Haris Rauf (2-45), Usman Qadir (1-48) and Hasan Ali (1-76).
Earlier, Fakhar Zaman hit his second successive century and captain Babar Azam scored 94 as Pakistan made 320 for seven in the series-deciding third and final one-day international against South Africa. Fakhar again scored rapidly, although he fell short of repeating the carnage he inflicted on the South African bowlers in the second match in Johannesburg on Sunday, falling for 101 off 104 balls.
It took a late assault by Babar and tailender Hasan Ali to take Pakistan’s total beyond Babar’s pre-match target of 300. The pair added 63 off the last four overs before Babar was caught on the deep point boundary to fall six runs short of his second century of the series. Babar faced 82 balls, while Hasan thrashed an unbeaten 32 off 11 balls, hitting four sixes off left-arm spinner Jon-Jon Smuts in the 49th over.
Fakhar and Imam-ul-Haq (57) laid a solid foundation with an opening partnership of 112 after Pakistan were sent in on a cloudy day. Fakhar’s 99-ball century was eight balls slower than his effort in a losing cause in Johannesburg, where he unleashed a furious assault, needing only another 48 balls to take his score to 193. But he added only one more run on Wednesday before an attempted lap shot against left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj looped off his arm and provided a simple catch to wicketkeeper Heinrich Klaasen. He hit nine fours and three sixes.
Maharaj, one of seven changes in the South African team, took three for 45 in his 10 overs. With three frontline fast bowlers missing because of Indian Premier League commitments, South African captain Temba Bavuma juggled an inexperienced seven-man bowling attack, making frequent changes and using spin bowlers for 28 of the 50 overs.