A collective effort from South Africa enabled them to level the three-match Betway one day internationals against Pakistan at the Imperial Wanderers ion Johannesburg on Sunday.
Babar Azam’s charges were unable to reach the 341 for six posted by the home side despite a brilliant century from opener Fakhar Zaman (193), after Babar had won the toss and elected to bowl first.
Half-centuries from Quinton de Kock (80), Temba Bavuma (92), Rassie van der Dussen (60) and David Miller (50 not out), enabled the Proteas to post a competitive 341 in their fifty overs while Pakistan were only able to respond with 324 for nine thanks mainly to Anrich Nortje, who claimed 3-63 in 10 overs to help the home side clinch a 17-run victory, setting up a do-or-die third match at Supersport Park to decide the series.
“We were always looking to improve on the first ODI, and for guys that can play dual roles,” said Bavuma after the days play.
Zaman had lost his opening partner early on with Iman-ul-Haq being caught off Lungi Ngidi (9-0-66-1) for just five. Babar Azam (30), who scored a century in the opening game, was caught by Bavuma, juggling the ball at mid-off from the bowling of Anrich Nortje (10-1-63-3) to set the slide.
“I tried to take on the small boundaries and score some runs. I tried my best but in the end it did not pay off,” said man of the match Fakhar.
Zaman’s efforts in trying to farm the strike did not produce the results he had hoped, despite producing the highest total at the Wanderers, as Kagiso Rabada (10-2-43-1) and Aiden Markram (39) closed off the taps, but not after Zaman climbed into Tabraiz Shamsi, clubbing the spinner for 19 runs in his final over. The left-hander was a cut above the rest as he struck 18 boundaries and 10 sixes from just 155 deliveries before being run out with a direct throw from Aiden Markram from the long-on fence in the final over.
“I was looking at the non-striker and thought that he had been run out but in the end it was my fault,” added Fakhar.
“It was the best I have seen anyone bat. Chasing 340 single-handedly was extremely tough. It was challenging but it was brilliant. It was an incredible innings and not much we could have done about it,” said Bavuma of Fakhar’s innings.
Nortje’s efforts also included the wickets of Mohammad Rizwan (0) and Danish Aziz (9) to leave the visitors in a pickle. But Zaman kept his cool, especially in a 66-run stand with Asif Ali (19) before Andile Phehlukwayo (10-0-67-2) broke the back of the chase by having Ali caught by Markram on the mid-wicket fence.
“We tried to be clear in our plans and execute them. We tried to take our opportunities and when they come we have to take them,” added the Proteas captain.
Earlier, Bavuma played a captain’s innings alongside former captain De Kock, as the pair posted a 114-run stand for the second wicket from 126 balls. De Kock started his innings slowly, struggling to find the middle of the bat but eventually found his rhythm, striking 10 boundaries and a six while Bavuma played more along the turf, striking nine boundaries from 102 deliveries.
Van der Dussen, who scored an unbeaten maiden ODI century in the first match, struck six boundaries and four sixes from just 37 balls to help propel the Proteas innings towards the 300-run mark while Miller finished off the innings, striking three fours and three sixes to clinch his second consecutive half-century off the final ball of the innings.
“Rassie and David (Miller) are the type of guys that can put teams under pressure and this bring s a lot of confidence to our line-up,” said Bavuma.
Zaman looked to control the Pakistan innings as much as possible in a singular effort but the pressure paid its toll as the South African’s setup a do-or-die final encounter at Supersport Park in Centurion in a few days time.
The Proteas will be without Miller, Nortje, Rabada, De Kock and Ngidi as the five players head off to the Indian Premier League which starts on 9 April 2021.04.04
“I am not nervous at all. It is an opportunity for some of the fringe players to stake a claim and make a name for themselves,” said Bavuma of the players leaving for the IPL.
**as published on www.supersport.com