Pakistan posted a highly competitive 240-8 in the series decider at Newlands, writes KHALID MOHIDIN.
The Proteas’ three all-rounders system was foreign to many, but the decision seemed to startle Pakistan just enough to successfully restrict their top-order batsmen. The true test of the match was not about the Proteas’ bowling, but rather whether the Proteas had it in them to chase a decent total under lights.
After winning the toss, the Proteas proceeded to remove both opposition danger men, Imam-ul-Haq and Babar Azam. Both were back in the dugout early. Dale Steyn removed Imam and Pretorius knocked over Babar’s leg stump.
Fakhar chose the perfect time to find his form, and he had the calm, experienced head of Mohammad Hafeez at the crease to help him rebuild Pakistan’s innings after being 64-2 after 13 overs.
Andile Phehlukwayo, however, removed Hafeez with a half-decent bouncer that the 38-year-old attempted to pull, but instead found a faint edge on its way through to De Kock behind the stumps.
Fakhar’s resistance was broken when he pulled Phehlukwayo to third man as Imran Tahir made up for his earlier fumble in the field by clinging on to the catch millimetres from the boundary rope.
Pretorius then picked up his second wicket of the innings when he removed Mohammad Rizwan for 10 in the 33rd over.
The Proteas needed to activate the kill switch, while Pakistan needed an open window to accelerate the run rate.
Shoaib Malik was next to go for 31 after a dodgy run-out call saw him diving into his crease, Pretorius throwing to De Kock off his own bowling.
Wiaan Mulder came back for his second spell, and five balls into his third over he added to Pakistan’s misery, removing Shadab Khan for a 42-ball 19. A superb Kagiso Rabada yorker removed Mohammad Amir’s off-stump as Pakistan were knocked eight down for 221 off 47.5 overs, KG giving away just three runs off the over.
Steyn conceded seven in the 49th over, and an excellent last over by Rabada was ruined by a fortunate snick for four off the fourth ball and a marvellous six off the final ball as Imad Wasim’s pulsating 31-ball cameo 47 pushed Pakistan to 240-8. The Proteas have been left with a more than decent total to chase, as no side has yet successfully hunted down such a score to win a day-night ODI at Newlands.
Pakistan 240-8 – Fakhar Zaman 70, Imad 47; Phehlukwayo 2-42.
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