Twitter Reactions: Clinical Pakistan clinch historic series win against South Africa

Twitter Reactions: Clinical Pakistan clinch historic series win against South Africa

Pakistan clinched the decider by 28 runs against South Africa with both batsmen and bowlers delivering goods at the right time against a depleted side.

Fakhar Zaman
Fakhar Zaman. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Pakistan clinched the decider by 28 runs against South Africa with both batsmen and bowlers delivering the goods at the right time against a depleted South African side. The 2-1 margin of victory for Pakistan belies how close and gripping the series was. The second century in a row from Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam’s classy 94 guided them to 320/7 against a fresh-faced South Africa in the series decider.

As if an absent quintet of mainstays, who all departed for their respective IPL duties was not enough for the hosts, they lost an in-form Rassie van der Dussen to a muscle strain. With over half a dozen replacements in their eleven from the previous game, South Africa inserted Pakistan to bat.

The visitors started in a sedate fashion as Aiden Markram, Beuran Hendricks, and Lutho Sipamla operated with the ball in tandem to hold things tightly. Although, in a classic get-your-eyes-in-and-reap-the-rewards-later approach, Fakhar Zaman upped the ante towards the latter half of his 112-run opening stand, which was broken no sooner than the 22nd over, when Imam-ul-Haq picked out long-on off Keshav Maharaj.

Red-hot Zaman and Azam make it merry again

Zaman’s engine was hot by then, whereas it rarely felt that Babar Azam had just walked in as he struck the right chords from the onset. The duo added runs at a fair clip, tackling every bowler without any difficulty, and when Zaman, who became the first Pakistan player to get more than one ton in South Africa as he followed up his incredible 193 with a century in the 35th over, it seemed that another carnage was on cards. Though, that did not the case thanks to Maharaj who accounted for Zaman, getting him caught behind immediately after he reached triple-figures and got an lbw shout overturned successfully.

Replacing Tabraiz Shamsi and on a comeback in ODIs, Maharaj added another in his tally when he got Mohammad Rizwan stumped in the 37th over to derail Pakistan’s momentum. Their age-old problem of an impotent middle-order and having a capacity to collapse came to light once again with Sarfaraz Ahmed and Faheem Ashraf – who both gave simple return catches to Smuts and Markram in a space of four balls – and then Mohammad Nawaz – undone courtesy of a blinder by Bevuma at covers – falling in quick succession.

It came down to a berserk assault from Haider Ali, who whacked a 10-ball 32 that momentarily overshadowed even an on-song Azam at the other end. The two of them notched up 63 runs from the last four overs with Azam top-edging Phehlukwayo to point to miss what could have been his 14th ODI century, by 6 runs.

South Africa lose their way after a steady start

South Africa must have rued not restricting the opponents under 300 when that seemed a certain possibility, however, the openers provided them a cheerful start, adding 54 in nine overs, to lift the mood. Markram smacked a four and six off Hasan Ali in the third over to clear his intentions, whereas Janneman Malan charged against Shaheen Afridi in the next. Though, Afridi had the last laugh as he successfully reviewed a caught-behind appeal to send back Markram in the 9th before leg-spinner Usman Qadir, on debut, bamboozled and knocked over Jon Jon Smuts to push South Africa on the back foot.

Malan, who notched up his half-century through a glorious cover drive off Qadir, rebuilt and accelerated with a well-paced 50-run stand for the third wicket alongside Temba Bavuma, however, Mohammad Nawaz’s double-wicket 24th over rattled South Africa as he trapped Malan lbw three balls before Bavuma inside-edged one onto his stumps to leave his side 128/4. Nawaz made that 140/5 soon as he trapped Heinrich Klassen lbw.

Verreynne, Phehlukwayo fight in vain

With over 180 runs needed in a little over 21 overs and 5 wickets remaining, a fighting partnership was what South Africa needed and they got just that with Kyle Verreynne and Andile Phelukwayo joining forces. Without letting the scoreboard pressure getting the better of them, the duo built an eventfully mature and brisk century stand (108 off 100) for the 6th wicket to bring South Africa completely into the game.

Hitting three fours and as many sixes, Verreynne brought up his half-century off 41 balls, whereas his partner reached the landmark off 55 deliveries. In the face of their fight, Pakistan used the slower-ball ploy to perfection and Haris Rauf brought back his side into the game when he got Verreynne caught in deep in the 44th over. As they say one brings two, Phehlukwayo perished in the immediately following over courtesy of a marvelous high catch from Sarfaraz Ahmed.

With no batting left, things went on downhill even as Keshav Maharaj and Daryn Dupavillon swung their bat before Afridi cleaning both of them up to dismiss South Africa 28 short of the target.

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