Pakistan ended the Proteas’ seven-game Pink Day ODI unbeaten streak and levelled the series 2-2 with an emphatic eight-wicket win at the Wanderers. KHALID MOHIDIN reports.
Pakistan could not have broken the Proteas’ Pink Day streak in a more satisfying manner. They dominated the hosts in front of a sold-out Wanderers crowd, firstly with the ball and then with the bat.
Pakistan won the toss and elected to bowl first, and their bowlers came to the party by skittling the Proteas for 164 off just 41 overs. Usman Shinwari was the star performer for Pakistan, taking 4-35 after Shaheen Afridi (2-24) gave the visitors the perfect start by striking early with the new ball.
Hashim Amla (59) and Faf du Plessis (57) gave the Proteas some hope of recovery with their 101-run partnership, until their wickets sparked an embarrassing collapse.
Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq gave Pakistan a tidy start. Fakhar found some much-needed form and led the scoring to take Pakistan to 70 off just 13 overs before Imran Tahir got the breakthrough, dismissing the opener for 44.
Imam-ul-Haq continued to race away as the highest run-scorer in the series by racking up his second half-century of the series, and the fifth of his brief ODI career.
Babar Azham joined Imam and provided the necessary support to see Pakistan over the line safely, although Imam lost his wicket with just one run needed for the win, gifting Phehlukwayo the wicket. The opener fell for a well-played 72 off 91 balls, while Babar finished on 41 off 53 balls as Pakistan reached their 165-run target in 31.3 overs, Mohammad Rizwan cutting the winning runs with a four.
The Proteas’ performance was way below par and Pakistan deserved their dominant victory. The result sets up the final match of the series at Newlands in Cape Town superbly, with the winner taking the series honours under the shade of Table Mountain, and no doubt in front of a full-house crowd.
Proteas 164 – Faf du Plessis 57, Hashim Amla 59; Usman Shinwari 4-35.
Pakistan 168-2 – Imam-ul-Haq 72 , Fakhar Zaman 44; Imran Tahir 1-40.
Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images