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De Villiers Leads South Africa To Huge Win

De Villiers drives
A brilliant unbeaten century from AB de Villiers helped South Africa recover from an early wobble after they had elected to bat.
©Action Images / Peter Cziborra Livepic

South Africa 268-7 (de Villiers 115no) beat
Pakistan 151 (Parnell 3-36) by 117 runs
Fifth One-Day International, Sharjah

South Africa rested three key players but still romped to victory in the final One-Day International in the UAE. The win gives them the series 4-1 and came courtesy of yet another torrid Pakistan batting performance.

Set 269 to win thanks to an excellent century from Proteas skipper AB de Villiers, they imploded for 151. Only Sohaib Maqsood passed 50 - for the second time in as many games, thus providing at least one bright spot for Pakistan in an otherwise disappointing series - as Vernon Philander, Ryan McLaren, JP Duminy and Wayne Parnell all took at least two wickets.

South Africa had won the toss at the start of the day and elected to bat on the same pitch that gave them a thrilling one-run win in the first match of the series last month. With the series now secure, they rested Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Imran Tahir from their first choice line-up, with Wayne Parnell, Vernon Philander and Robin Peterson given a game.

They lost Hashim Amla to Mohammad Irfan’s (1-52) fifth delivery, but the increasingly impressive Quinton de Kock added 50 with Faf du Plessis for the second-wicket. He fell to Saeed Ajmal for 34, with Duminy following to Mohammad Hafeez (1-10) to make it 62 for three and put Pakistan on the front foot.

Du Plessis and de Villiers then shared 62 for the fourth-wicket, but du Plessis’ dismissal to Junaid Khan (2-57) with the Proteas on 124 for four in the 32nd over, left them with plenty to do in the final part of their innings.

As it was, de Villiers helped them score 144 runs from the final 110 balls of the innings and led them to an imposing total on a pitch that, as it has already shown in this series, can be tricky to bat on.

He reached 50 off 70 balls and then upped the tempo to reach three figures off just 29 more. The stand with David Miller (15) was worth 26, but it was the one that he dominated with Ryan McLaren that set South Africa up for the win. The pair added 83 in fewer than 10 overs for the sixth-wicket, with McLaren contributing 27 of them off 24 balls before becoming a third wicket for Ajmal (3-45).

Pakistan’s run chase then got off to a terrible start; one that was to provide a taste of what lay ahead. Ahmed Shehzad was caught of Lonwabo Tsotsobe with the score on eight, with Vernon Philander then bowling Hafeez in the very next over. Umar Amin - back in place of Asad Shafiq - then also succumbed to Philander to make it 17 for three.

If Pakistan were now going to mount a serious challenge on their stiff target then they really needed another stellar innings from their unfairly maligned captain Misbah-ul-Haq. Unfortunately, he made just 18 before being dismissed by man of the series Ryan McLaren, who ended the series with nine wickets at an average of 20 to go with his useful cameos with the bat.

Misbah’s departure left Pakistan on 56 for four and going nowhere. However, Umar Akmal and Maqsood did show a brief bit of fight during a fifth-wicket partnership worth 54. Akmal reached 30 before missing a sweep off Duminy and being sent packing.

Shahid Afridi was next to go, caught and bowled by Parnell for just nine, with Maqsood’s innings brought to an end at 53 off 65 balls by Duminy. The tail didn’t pose South Africa too many problems and they were left celebrating a series win that owes as much to Pakistan’s dismal batting as it does to their own steadily improving ODI performances.

© Cricket World 2013