JOHANNESBURG: Pakistan beat South Africa by four wickets in an exciting first fixture of the four-match T20I series at Johannesburg which went down to the wire.
They reached the target of 189 with just 1 ball to spare, and now, Pakistan lead the series 1-0.
Excluding wins coming via Super Over, this was Pakistan’s 100th win.
Man-of-the-Match Mohammad Rizwan led Pakistan to victory with his unbeaten 74, comprising two sixes and nine fours.
Faheem Ashraf’s 30 off 14 balls also proved to be beneficial for the team in the end. However, the batting line up otherwise could not produce much runs, as skipper Babar Azam scored 14 runs, Fakhar Zaman 27 runs, Mohammad Hafeez 13 runs, and Haider Ali 14 runs.
South Africa’s sloppy fielding let Pakistan stay afloat in the last over and helped Hassan Ali take the risk and hit out for the winning runs.
South Africa, missing several of their regulars, handed a debut to three players — Wihan Lubbe, Sisanda Magala, and Lizaad Williams —and their naivete was at full display.
When the match was in their favour late in the second innings, Proteas bowlers unleashed a flurry of full tosses, which when coupled with uncharacteristically poor fielding, helped Pakistan over the finish line.
Five key players from the Proteas squad — Quinton de Kock, David Miller, Anrich Nortje, Kagiso Rabada, and Lungi Ngidi — have departed for the Indian Premier League.
While batting, South Africa had dominated the middle overs but slowed down in the end to finish with 188-6 — a total that was smaller than they were on course to amass when Aiden Markram and Heinrich Klaasen were in full flow.
Pakistan’s bowlers were able to take six wickets, with Shaheen Shah Afridi taking and Haris Rauf taking one each and Mohammad Nawaz and Hasan Ali two each.
Most of Pakistan’s bowlers struggled and went for runs, except Nawaz and Hasan, both of whom picked up two wickets each and were economical.
A day before the first T20I in Johannesburg, South Africa’s white-ball captain Temba Bavuma was ruled out of the series after suffering a Grade One hamstring strain. In his absence, Heinrich Klaasen will lead the Proteas during the four-match contest.
Pakistan: Babar Azam (captain), Arshad Iqbal, Asif Ali, Danish Aziz, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Shah Afridi, and Usman Qadir.
South Africa: Heinrich Klaasen (captain, wicketkeeper), Aiden Markram, Andile Phehlukwayo, Beuran Hendricks, Bjorn Fortuin, George Linde, Rassie van der Dussen, Janneman Malan, Sisanda Magala, Wiaan Mulder, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lutho Sipamla, Kyle Verreynne, Pite van Biljon, Daryn Dupavillon, Migael Pretorius, Lizaad Willi