South Africa 181-6 (de Villiers 48no) beat
Pakistan 179 (Philander 3-26) by 4 wickets
Third One-Day International, Centurion
South Africa salvaged some pride in the third and final One-Day International against Pakistan in Centurion. Their bowlers proved too good for the tourists’ fragile batting line-up as only Misbah-ul-Haq displayed the necessary skill. Vernon Philander picked up three wickets, with Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Ryan McLaren and Imran Tahir collecting two apiece.
It wasn’t all plain sailing for South Africa in their run chase as they lost regular wickets; Saeed Ajmal and Bilawal Bhatti proving particularly difficult to play. However, skipper AB de Villiers anchored the latter part of their innings and ended on 48 not out as they won in 39th over.
With Pakistan having already secured the series courtesy of their thrilling one-run triumph on Wednesday, both sides made several changes to their first-choice elevens. It was already known that the hosts would be without Graeme Smith, Dale Steyn and Jacques Kallis, with Henry Davids, Vernon Philander and Wayne Parnell their replacements. Pakistan, meanwhile, either rested or dropped Shahid Afridi, Nasir Jamshed, Junaid Khan and Mohammad Hafeez and played Asad Shafiq, Umar Amin, Abdur Rehman and Sohail Tanvir.
It didn’t do them a lot of good as they lost their customary early wickets. Ahmed Shehzad and Asad Shafiq were both sent packing before the score reached double figures and it was left to Umar Amin and Sohaib Maqsood to begin the rebuild.
They took the score to 48, but the familiar procession of middle-order wickets followed Amin’s dismissal at the hands of Ryan Mclaren. Maqsood gave Mclaren (2-28) a second wicket when on 25, with wicket-keeper Umar Akmal (5) and all-rounders Bilawal Bhatti (1) and Anwar Ali (1) soon following him back.
At 97 for seven in the 29th over, Pakistan were in danger of embarrassing themselves. Fortunately, Misbah-ul-Haq found some support from Abdur Rehman and the two put on 51 for the eighth-wicket. Rehman handed Imran Tahir (2-56) a second victim when on 22, with Misbah left stranded on 79 off 107 balls as Pakistan were all out for 179.
Philander was the pick of the South African bowlers and proved himself a more than able replacement for Dale Steyn, with figures of three for 26. Tsotsobe partnered him with the new ball and took two for 38, while Parnell ended with one for 30.
The Proteas’ run chase was far from straightforward as Pakistan’s bowlers again did their best to make up for the failings of their batsmen. Openers Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla got things off to a brisk start, but de Kock’s dismissal at the hands of Bhatti rather stalled the innings.
Henry Davids endured a debut to forget and made just seven prior to being stumped off Saeed Ajmal, with Amla (41) and JP Duminy (16) also falling in the first part of the innings to make it 84 for four.
De Villiers, though, made up for the timing of his dismissal on Wednesday by sharing useful partnerships with David Miller (24) and Ryan McLaren (17) to end of 48 off 63 balls and, this time, see his side home.
The series defeat at home is undoubtedly a disappointment for South Africa, especially considering the progress they appeared to make in ODI cricket in the UAE. They now welcome India for a shortened tour, beginning with the first of three ODIs on Thursday. Pakistan, meanwhile, will travel back to the UAE and ‘host’ Sri Lanka after warming-up with a Twenty20 International against an in-form Afghanistan.
© Cricket World 2013