Exceptional death bowling from the Proteas saw them defend 189 to clinch the T20I series against Pakistan with a seven-run win at the Bullring, reports KHALID MOHIDIN.
The rain came, but never affected the game at the Bullring. The Proteas batted first and their innings was composed of some quality boundary hitting from 22-year-old debutant Janneman Malan (33), Reeza Hendricks (28) and Rassie van der Dussen (45) before they lost their wickets.
The plaudits deserved to go to the stand-in skipper David Miller, whose big-hitting in the final over took the Proteas from 159-3 to 188-3 that included three sixes and a four.
Miller finished with 65 off just 29 balls, with five sixes and four fours.
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The Pakistan reply was admirable. Despite losing the wicket of Fakhar Zaman on 14, Babar Azam punished the Proteas, particularly Chris Morris, Beuran Hendricks and Junior Dala.
Pakistan raced to 70-1 in the powerplay and continued to pile on the pressure. Lutho Sipamla on debut bowled well to contain Pakistan in the middle overs, along with Tabraiz Shamsi and Andile Phehlukwayo.
Babar (90) and Hussain Talat (40) kept their pedal to the metal with a crucial 102-run partnership.
Their partnership was broken with the first ball of the 17th over when Hendricks’ slower ball was mis-timed by Babar, who skied the delivery to mid-wicket with his score on 90.
With Hussain still at the crease, the Proteas needed a lot of hard work to clinch a victory, but they managed to throttle Pakistan further with the wicket of Asif Ali, courtesy of Andile Phehlukwayo.
Chris Morris bowled the second last over, and despite being dispatched off his first delivery, lit up Hussain’s stumps to swing the pendulum in the Proteas’ favour.
Hussain’s 41-ball 55 included one six and seven fours. Morris sent nervous vibes around the Bullring when he conceded 12 runs in the over before he bowled Imaad Wasim to send the supporters into a frenzy of excitement.
With 15 needed off the final over, Phehlukwayo was smashed for four off the first ball, but then removed Shoaib Malik for six with a knuckleball that was collected at backward square leg.
With nine runs from two balls needed, Phehlukwayo showed his nerve and bowled Hasan Ali to restrict Pakistan to 181-7 and clinch the series 2-0, an incredible performance from a ‘weakened’ Proteas side against the No 1 T20I side in the world.
Proteas innings 188-3 (Rassie van der Dussen 45, David Miller 65; Imad Wasim 1-9)
Pakistan innings 181-7 (Babar Azam 90, Hussain Talat 55; Beuran Hendricks 2-30, Chris Morris 2-36, Andile Phehlukwayo 3-36)