Twitter Reactions: Pretorius, Hendricks, Biljon keep South Africa alive in the series

Twitter Reactions: Pretorius, Hendricks, Biljon keep South Africa alive in the series

Heinrich Klassen and David Miller broke loose and added 40 from 25, completing the chase with 22 balls to spare.

Dwaine Pretorius
Dwaine Pretorius. (Photo by AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images)

After a closely-contested first T20I in Lahore, where Mohammad Rizwan’s spectacular century and Usman Qadir’s neat spell granted Pakistan a 1-0 lead, South Africa stepped out to evade their 6th consecutive loss in the format at the Gaddafi Stadium, and they did thanks to Dwaine Pretorius’ magnificence with the ball before some sensible batting efforts from Reeza Hendricks and Pite van Biljon.

Opting to bowl against an unchanged Pakistan, South Africa made three changes in their eleven, handing medium-pacer Glenton Stuurman his maiden cap, and roping in Pite van Biljon and all-rounder Jon Jon Smuts at the expense of Jacques Snyman and Bjorn Fortuin.

The Powerplay yielded Pakistan 46 runs, however, losing two crucial wickets meant that their innings never quite teed off the way they would have liked. Mohammad Rizwan slog-swept Smuts behind square on the leg side to get off the mark in some style on the opening delivery of Pakistan’s innings, however, Dwaine Pretorius pinned skipper Babar Azam lbw to push Pakistan on the edge. Playing across the line as the delivery jagged in from a good length, Azam failed to make any connection and burned a review for a plumb call, making it two unsuccessful outings upon his return.

Rizwan battles alone

South Africa used five bowlers in as many overs and Andile Phelukwayo struck in the fifth when Haider Ali flicked him straight to Lutho Sipamla in the deep. Rizwan witnessed the wickets tumbling, although he held his end persistently and dispatched Sipamla for a couple of boundaries before Hussain Talat perished to the leg-spin of Tabraiz Shamsi while attempting a reverse sweep.

It took a sensational catch from David Miller off Pretorius to end the 45-run collaboration for the fourth wicket between Iftikhar Ahmed and Rizwan that steadied Pakistan’s innings to some extent, during which Rizwan became the first batsman for his nation to score three consecutive 50s in T20Is.

Pretorius’ fifer dents Pakistan

South Africa nabbed the scoring entirely and allowed Pakistan to score no more than 12 in overs 13-16 as Pretorius ensured that Rizwan was unable to repeat his heroics. The track was manifestly on the slower side and Pretorius’ slow-ball ploy, which had already reaped enough results, led to the falling of half-centurion Rizwan too, who skied a slower one to long-off.

Running out of time, Faheem Ashraf counterattacked through his 12-ball 30, picking three fours in the 15-run 18th over by Sipamla before slamming 15 in the last over to give Pakistan a competitive total. Crunched in between was the two-wicket penultimate over by Pretorius, where dismissals of Khushdil Shah and Mohammad Nawaz fetched him a fifer – also the best-ever figures by any bowler against Pakistan.

Hendricks-Biljon see South Africa home

South Africa made a nervous start against Shaheen Afridi, who bagged a couple of wickets early in the Powerplay, but that did not deter Reeza Hendricks and Pite van Biljon to keep both their nerves and the required run rate under check. Afridi struck on the second ball of South Africa’s response, rattling Janemann Malan, who inside-edged a length delivery straight onto his stumps. He returned to undo Jon Jon Smuts, who gave a simple catch to Babar Azam at mid-off in a wicket-maiden third over.

A couple of early strikes notwithstanding, Hendricks broke the shackles through a massive six against Nawaz over long-on to make his intent clear. Pite van Biljon joined the party too, in the following over from Faheem Ashraf, depositing him for a maximum over the fielder at deep midwicket. South Africa finished with a score identical to Pakistan at the end of the Powerplay, but a couple of sixes off Usman Qadir – who missed to match his guile from the first game – shot up South Africa’s momentum.

Qadir weathered another six, off a googly in the 9th over, and he added only more to his frustration when the replays suggested that he overstepped on delivery that Biljon had been stumped on. He finally managed a breakthrough that ended the 77-run partnership as Hendricks ended his knock after picking Iftikhar Ahmed at mid-on. Biljon gave a simple return catch to Nawaz in the following over to raise a few hearts beats in South Africa’s camp, although skipper Heinrich Klassen and David Miller broke loose and added 40 from 25, completing the chase with 22 balls to spare.

Here is how Twitter reacted: