Twitter Reactions: Pakistan clinch the T20I series against South Africa despite David Miller's heroics

Twitter Reactions: Pakistan clinch the T20I series against South Africa despite David Miller’s heroics

Pakistan clinched the series 2-1, winning the decider by 4 wickets and 8 balls to spare.

Mohamad Nawaz and Hasan Ali
Mohamad Nawaz and Hasan Ali. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

After a nerve-sapping opening game, which Pakistan won courtesy of Mohammad Rizwan’s heroics, South Africa drew level and romped to a victory thanks to a sensational, record-breaking fifer from Dwaine Pretorius. In an evenly fought series, Pakistan made three changes in the series decider, handing Zahid Mehmood his maiden cap, apart from the inclusions of the Alis, Hasan, and Asif, at the expense of Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, and Khushdil Shah.

Winning the toss in the foggy, dewy conditions of Lahore, the hosts opted to bowl on a surface that had shown generous assistance to spinners. And they were immediately rewarded as Mohammad Nawaz gave the early breakthrough, cleaning up Reeza Hendricks in only the second over. While Janneman Malan broke loose against Nawaz, collecting a six and four, the spinner came back strongly against Jon Jon Smuts, who tried to take him on by hitting against the turn, only to sky a top-edge for the man at extra cover.

Pakistan spin a web

Skipper Babar Azam opted to take Nawaz off the attack and introduce Hasan Ali, a move that generated mixed results. Ali was whacked for three consecutive fours in the last over of the powerplay, although he had the last laugh as Pite van Biljon, in an attempt to make it four fours in a row, failed to evade a slow cutter that slid through the gap between his bat and pad before disturbing his furniture.

Despite losing wickets consistently while attempting to hit the spinners against the turn, South Africa was negligent enough to take no learning. The action was aplenty in debutant Zahid Mehmood’s first over, as he accounted two wickets in as many balls – Heinrich Klassen top-edged a googly to short fine leg, where Qadir snaffled an excellent catch, and Malan trapped lbw, leaving his side reeling it 47 for 5.

The score soon deteriorated to 70 for 7 as Andile Phehlukwayo holed out to deep midwicket off Qadir and Mehmood claimed his third by knocking down Dwaine Pretorius.

Killer Miller to the rescue 

With time slipping out of hands for his team, David Miller rose to the occasion, taking the attack to the opposition and showing why he is an asset in the shortest format. Miller slammed Mehmood for two massive sixes, pedaling his team closer to 100. Though Pakistan sneaked a couple of quiet overs after Millers’s assault, he mauled Shaheen Afridi for two boundaries in the 17th over, picking 13 runs.

Saving the true carnage for the ultimate over, Miller thumped 4 sixes against Faheem Ashraf, one of which was a gift by Babar Azam, who not only dropped a simple chance at long-on but failed to restrict the ball inside the field. Adding 41 and 58 with Fortuin and Sipamla, respectively, his 45-ball 85 steered South Africa to 164/8, a score that was not even remotely in sight at the halfway mark.

Rizwan, Babar steady in the chase

Continuing his sensational form, Mohammad Rizwan picked from where he left last night as he got into the groove quickly, hitting a couple of boundaries against Pretorius before plonking Smuts out of the park for a maximum. Haider Ali came to the scene soon too, as he heaved Phehlukwayo for a six over square leg and smothered Sipamla for a four in the following over.

Skipper Klassen kept shuffling his bowlers and having borne the brunt of the openers, who ensured that Pakistan lost no wicket in the Powerplay, he finally turned to Tabraiz Shamsi, who struck on the first ball, dissecting the gap between his bat and pad to rattle Haider Ali’s stumps. Rizwan kept flowing, although a misjudged sweep off Shamsi before reviewing a plumb lbw shout to no avail meant he fell 8 short of recording his fourth half-century on the trot.

A few hiccups, but Pakistan reach home

Shamsi claimed his third scalp, cleaning up Hussain Talat cheaply to push Pakistan into a tricky situation. However, Babar Azam rose to the occasion, absorbing pressure and batting with responsibility. Displaying his wide array of shots, he flicked, drove, and pulled to ease out the scoring as he picked two consecutive boundaries off Sipamla and Pretorius before the latter struck at a crucial juncture and denied him a half-century by 6 runs.

South Africa smelled a chance twice – when Asif Ali holed out to long-on off Shamsi and Faheem Ashraf perished to Fortuin – however, Mohammad Nawaz and Hasan Ali teed off en route their 13-ball 32 partnership and Andile Phelukwayo’s horror penultimate over, which included two sixes, a no-ball, and a four led Pakistan to clinch series 2-1, winning the decider by 4 wickets and 8 balls to spare.

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