Twitter Reactions: Incredible Fakhar Zaman's heroics go in vain as South Africa level series

Twitter Reactions: Incredible Fakhar Zaman’s heroics go in vain as South Africa level series

Records galore and South Africa sweated as Zaman rammed towards what seemed a certain double century.

Fakhar Zaman
Fakhar Zaman. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Fakhar Zaman’s heroic fightback could not evade a loss for Pakistan in the second ODI of the series. In an incredible exhibition of batting brilliance, Zaman nearly single-handedly snatched a victory from the jaws of the defeat despite his team being nowhere close to it at one stage. Although, it was not meant to be.

A solid batting display that had as many as four half-centurions, one only eight short of a century, took South Africa to a robust score of 341/6 in the Johannesburg ODI. The start of the game was similar to Centurion, with Babar Azam winning the toss and inserting the hosts to bat, although what was starkly different was the intent of South Africa and the color of the jerseys that most found identical a couple of days ago.

Aiden Markram and Quinton de Kock provided South Africa a rollicking start, piling a half-century stand before Markram ended his brisk outing by depositing Faheem Ashraf to extra cover. Unlike the previous encounter, the Proteas were vigilant to not lose wickets in a cluster as de Kock and Temba Bavuma joined hands for a defining second-wicket partnership (114 from 126).

Controlled aggression guides South Africa to 341

Not allowing any Pakistan bowler to succeed with their plans, they continued to milk runs at a reasonable pace as the visitors’ search for a breakthrough lasted until the 31st over, when de Kock (80), appearing settled for a century, played one from Haris Rauf onto his stumps. The respite did not last long, however, as Rassie van der Dussen and Bavuma notched up an accelerated 69-ball 101-run stand for the third, with Dussen playing the aggressor (60 from 37) before holing out to long-on.

While Bavuma looked set for his maiden ton as a captain, he perished for 92 after he miscued a pull against Rauf for deep midwicket to pouch safely. A couple of quick strikes – Afridi and Rauf removed Klassen and Phehlukwayo, respectively – did not deter David Miller from smacking an unbeaten 50 off merely 27 to muscle South Africa to 341.

Middle-order woes continue for Pakistan

Things went south for Pakistan right from the start as Markram grabbed a thick edge off Imam-ul-Haq’s bat to give both Ngidi and South Africa an early success. A slight recovery followed before Nortje rattled them twice in the 10th over, accounting for Babar Azam, whose chance was juggled dramatically by Bavuma at midwicket, and Mohammad Rizwan, who gave a regulation catch to Klassen at first slip.

Nortje was in action soon again as Danish Aziz nicked him behind to leave Pakistan 85/4. Amidst the collapse, it was Fakhar Zaman, who stood as a lone warrior, craving for support but hardly getting any. He played with utter fluency, and even as others struggled to find any momentum, he brought up his century through a spectacular pull against Nortje in the 38th over.

Fakhar Zaman’s berserk fightback

After Tabraiz Shamsi trapped Shadab Khan lbw, the 66-run sixth-wicket stand between Zaman and Ali infused some hope in the Pakistan camp, only for the latter to mistime a slog off Phehlukwayo straight to Markram in the deep. Three overs later, Faheem Ashraf nicked Phelukwayo to de Kock to bring Shaheen Afridi in. Unbound at the other end, Zaman continued his assault as he smacked both Phelukwayo and Nortje before taking on Shamsi with disdain.

He whacked the leg-spinner for two sixes in the 42nd over and followed that with a hat-trick of maximums in the 44th, the second of which blazed him past 150. Afridi gave a return catch to Rabada in the next to end the 68-run partnership, of which only 5 came from his bat, highlighting the single-handed dominance of Zaman, who started to maul every bowler without exception, alongside Haris Rauf.

Records galore and South Africa sweated as Zaman rammed towards what seemed a certain double century, although, a rather anticlimactic end to his innings came in the ultimate over when he fell short to make his ground, missing the double only by 7 runs as Pakistan fell 17 short.

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