Equal Punches in the T20I Series | Pakistan v South Africa Review
The 2-1 win by Pakistan in the T20I series against South Africa is yet another step up on the ladder of shattered confidence, for the home side. While watching the matches on TV with empty stands I had the feeling that much of the fun for the lovers of the game has been lost for whom this format was introduced.
But still the brave soldiers representing Proteas and Pakistan have defeated the covid-19 at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore, keeping us glued to our ‘idiot boxes.’
In this three-match series, one must appreciate that despite bringing in many new faces in the side, both teams fought ball by ball and kept us on the edge all the time. Though Pakistan won the first match with the help of Mohammad Rizwan's century but South Africa almost reached the target of 160 but lost it bravely by 3 runs.
Keeping their nerves right under control and learning from the mistakes, the SA team came back strongly in the 2nd T20I restricting Pakistan to 144 runs by magnificent and clever bowling by Dwaine Pretorius who claimed 5 for 17. Since T20 games are the pressure ones specially for the chasing team, any number below 150 reduces pressure and exactly the same thing happened and Proteas sailed home easily, beating Pakistan by 6 wickets.
Now with one all the two teams had to go for the decider to win the series. Therefore, both Pakistan and SA re-enforced their sides with the spinners as the Gaddafi Stadium pitches mostly favoured them better than fast bowlers.
Regardless of the end result of the final T20 match, Pakistanis will remember the swashbuckling innings of 85 by David Miller, who shone like Kohinoor in the Crown and his innings was studded with 7 sixes and 5 fours. Despite having mostly new faces in the side, Proteas showed great determination as from 7 down for 65 runs to give Pakistan a challenging task of 165 runs to win is by itself a praise worthy effort.
Pakistan went in to chase apparently, a not too easy a target to achieve under the tricky pitch behaviour which helped spinners and thinking fast bowlers. The danger men were Pretorius and Tabraiz Shamsi to deal with and as such from all angles we thought the match will go to the last ball. With even two good scores from Rizwan (42) and skipper Babar Azam (44), the match still hung in balance when Faheem Ashraf was the sixth wicket to follow at 137. With wagging tail, Hassan Ali finally used the long handle to score 20 runs with eight balls to spare to win the series.
What impressed me most was the puzzling left arm chinaman Tabraiz who is yet to be decoded by Pakistani batsmen. As for Pakistan, debutant Zahid Mahmood and young Usman Qadir, the two wrist spinners shall become a force to reckon with for Pakistan in future.
Irrespective of the result of the series, I would rate it to be similar to boxing bout with sharing EQUAL PUNCHES while Pakistan winning on points.
© Cricket World 2021