Pakistan clinched a four-wicket victory over South Africa in the third and final T20 international with eight balls to spare at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on Sunday to clinch the series 2-1.
South Africa were all at sea and despite heroics from David Miller, who scored an unbeaten 85, and Tabraiz Shamsi’s career-best of 4-25, Pakistan were too good for the visitors as Hasan Ali and Mohammad Nawaz clubbed 20 runs off the penultimate over, bowled by Andile Phehlukwayo (2.4-0-37-0), to clinch the game and the series with some space to spare.
Babar Azam had won the toss and had asked Heinrich Klaasen’s men to bat first. South Africa had slumped to 48 for six and 67 for seven before Miller’s exploits pushed the South African effort to a respectable 164 for eight.
Miller clubbed five boundaries and seven sixes, four of which came in the final over of the innings, bowled by Faheem Ashraf (3-0-38-0), in his 45-ball innings after the entire South African batting order had been caught like a deer in the headlights.
In reply, Shamsi had bamboozled the Pakistan top-order to leave South Africa with hope of clinching a victory from the jaws of defeat but a lack of support proved the difference as Pakistan reached 169 for six with still eight balls remaining in the match.
The only support Miller received in the South African effort was from opener Janneman Malan. The Cobras man struck three fours and a six from 17 balls before being trapped leg before from debutant legspinner, Zihad Mahmood (4-0-40-3).
Nawaz had given the home side the perfect start by removing Reeza Hendricks (2) and Jon-Jon Smuts (1) relatively early before a brief respite between Malan and Pite van Biljon (16). But then Mahmood entered the fray, dismissing Malan and Klaasen (0) before finishing off with the wicket of Dwaine Pretorius (9).
Hasan Ali (4-0-29-2) had accounted for Van Biljon and Bjorn Fortuin (10) but Miller, had orchestrated that the Proteas scored 103 runs in the final 10 overs to give themselves a chance.
In reply, Mohammad Rizwan, who scored a century and a fifty in the first two games, along with new partner Haider Ali (15), gave the home side a good start with an opening stand of 51 from just 37 balls. At the rate the pair were going, Pakistan were on target to clinch victory far easier that what it ended up being.
But once the power play was done, Shamsi entered the fray and dismissed Haider with a great ball, taking his off-stump before clean-bowling Hussain Talat for just five. Shamsi then dismissed Rizwan, trapping the in-form opener for 42 before finishing off with the wicket of Asif (7).
Pretorius (3-0-33-1) clean-bowled Azam (44) with a ball that moved prodigiously off the seam and with Pakistan on 117 for five, Klaasen’s men thought they were in with a chance.
Despite Fortuin (4-0-30-1) having Ashraf caught by Miller on the long-on boundary for 10, Nawaz (18 not out) and Hasan saw to it that Pakistan took the spoils. The pair scored 32 unbeaten runs for the seventh wicket off just 13 balls, thanks mainly to Phehlukwayo’s disastrous penultimate over.
Phehlukwayo, inn needing to keep things tight, bowled a waste-high full toss, which was called a no-ball and struck for six by Hasan (20 not out), followed by a couple of singles and a wide. Hasan finished off the game and series by striking Phehlukwayo for a boundary and a six to win the game.
**As published on Supersport.com