Du Plessis Guides South Africa To Series Triumph

Du Plessis plays a shot
South Africa captain Faf du Plessis led from the front with an unbeaten half-century.
©REUTERS/Nikhil Monteiro. Picture Supplied by Action Images

South Africa 150-5 (du Plessis 58no) beat
Pakistan 144-9 (Parnell 3-25) by 6 runs
Second Twenty20 International, Dubai

South Africa held their nerve to end their tour of the UAE on a winning note. They beat Pakistan by six runs to secure a 2-0 win in the T20 series, which takes them up to second in the ICC rankings and follows on from their 4-1 triumph in the ODIs. Faf du Plessis was named man of the match for his knock of 58 and crucial catch towards the end.

Set 151 to win, Pakistan looked to be going well at 101 for three in the 14th over. However, a familiar batting wobble left them on 121 for eight and with much left resting on Shahid Afridi. He did manage one six to put them back in the hunt, but his dismissal - well caught by Faf du Plessis - left Saeed Ajmal and an injured Mohammad Irfan with too much to do in the final over.

Pakistan began their run chase well as openers Ahmed Shehzad and Nasir Jamshed - recalled to the side at the expense of Abdur Rehman to strengthen the batting - put on 39 in five overs. However, Wayne Parnell struck with his first delivery to end Shehzad’s bright innings at 21 off 14 balls. Mohammad Hafeez was trapped in front to the very next ball, with Jamshed caught off Henry Davids, who was included in the Proteas line-up after JP Duminy was allowed to return home early.

That made it 46 for three and fears of another dismal Pakistan batting performance must have been surfacing. Shoaib Malik and Sohaib Maqsood calmed things for a while, but the former was forced to retire hurt after being hit on the hand by a short ball from Parnell. Umar Akmal then partnered Maqsood to take the score into three figures before falling to Ryan McLaren.

That wicket made it 101 for four and would be the first in a mini-collapse of five for 20 that would hand South Africa the advantage. Malik returned to the middle following Akmal’s dismissal, but didn’t last long and was the first to fall in an Imran Tahir double-strike that also claimed Abdul Razzaq first ball.

Afridi entered the fray and briefly looked like taking his side to victory before the catch at extra cover from du Plessis virtually ended the contest. Pakistan ended on 144 for nine, with Dale Steyn (2-20), Parnell (3-25) and Tahir (2-21) all delivering the goods for South Africa.

The Proteas should really have made more than their total of 150 for five, but could score only 13 runs from the final 17 balls of their innings. Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla had begun brightly with an opening stand of 37 in 21 balls, but it was the second-wicket partnership between Amla and du Plessis that would set up the innings.

The pair added 78 in 10 overs before Amla succumbed to the ever-effective Saeed Ajmal (3-25) for 48 off 41 balls. Du Plessis remained until the end of the innings, finishing on 58 off 48 balls, but was unable to prevent the late stall that was partly caused by Sohail Tabnvir (2-21) striking in each of his final two overs.

© Cricket World 2013