Pakistan finished their tour on a high as they beat South Africa by 27 runs in the third and final T20 at SuperSport Park. The visitors batted for the first time in this series and scored 168, a target that was too high for the hosts to overhaul in Centurion.
Pakistan fielded perhaps their strongest attack in this format with Mohd Amir and Faheem Ashraf both restored in the XI. Despite pre-series talk about everyone in the Proteas squad getting a go, Wiaan Mulder didn’t get one as South Africa opted to remain unchanged.
Like he had done in the previous games, Babar Azam got his team off to a rollicking start, hitting five fours in his 11 ball 23 before being dismissed. Every one of the Pakistani top seven, bar Hussain Talat, got into double figures but were unable to convert their starts into a bigger score. Mohammad Rizwan top scored for the visitors with 28, but they lost wickets at regular intervals and were in danger of being bowled out for below 150 before Shadab Khan gave the innings a much needed boost by taking three sixes off Andile Phehlukwayo in the final over of the game.
Phehlukwayo had been the hero at the Wanderers two days ago, but had a forgettable evening at Centurion, going for 41 in his four overs. Lutho Sipamla, another Wanderers star, was also taken for plenty, going for 27 in his two overs (he had gone 0/23 in his four in Johannesburg)
The pick of the South African bowlers was Beuran Hendricks. The left armer is normally expensive, but picked up career best figures for 4/14 here.
In reply, Janneman Malan’s struggles with spin continued as he once again fell to Imad Wasim. Shaheen had Hendricks caught and bowled and when Amir ended Heinrich Klaasen’s miserable stay at the wicket, South Africa were struggling at 30/3 in the 8th over.
We had predicted a Pakistan win on Nostragramus– South Africa were essentially playing with a B side, and it would’ve been some achievement for them to whitewash the No.1 ranked T20 side 3-0. Pakistan opting to bat first and scoring what they did solidified the prediction- they have a fantastic record of defending games after scoring 150+ batting first.
David Miller and Rassie van der Dussen set about repairing the innings, with the latter in particular severe on Shadab. However the leg spinner had the last laugh, getting Miller caught and bowled while attempting the sweep, and then having Phehlukwayo LBW as the latter attempted a reverse. Van der Dussen also fell to Ashraf, and given the Proteas’ long tail, it was effectively curtains for them at that stage.
Chris Morris fought a lone battle- getting 55 off 29 balls to lend the score an air of respectability. Without support at the other end, Morris was never going to be able to chase it down on his own, but his big hitting certainly didn’t hurt his World Cup cause.
South Africa eventually finished on 141/9 in their 20. Amir was the pick of the bowlers with 3/27, while Imad (1/19) and Shaheen (1/23) were again miserly with the ball.
Shadab was named Man of the Match while Miller took the Man of the Series award.