South Africa v Pakistan 1st T20I - South Africa sneak in - in a thriller at Cape Town
There were only 6 runs between the two sides in the first of the three T20 series between South Africa and Pakistan.
Pakistan won the toss and decided to field against South Africa at Newlands, Cape Town
South Africa 192 - 6 (Faf du Plessis 78, Reeza Hendricks 74; Usman Shinwari 3-31)
Pakistan 186 - 9 (Shoaib Malik 49, Hussain Talat 40, Babar Azam 38; Beuran Hendricks 2-40, Chris Morris 2-39, Tabraiz Shamsi 2-33)
Result - South Africa won by 6 runs
Pakistan, with its captain Shoaib Malik still in the middle, required 16 runs of the last over from Chris Morris. Had it not been for tremendous work in the field by David Miller, South Africa having taken the field with an inexperienced bowling unit came quite close to losing a day-night at Newlands, Cape Town.
The match kicked off at 6pm local time and South Africa asked to bat first, keen to set a challenging total. Pakistan, without its suspended captain Sarfraz Ahmed, also opted to keep both Mohammad Amir and Shaheen Afridi on the bench. The home side were without its T20 specialist, Quinton de Kock, who will have to sit out the three-match series, due to groin strain.
The second-wicket stand between Reeza Hendricks (74 off 41 balls, 8 fours and 2 sixes) and captain Faf du Plessis (78 off 45 balls, 8 fours and 4 sixes) was worth 131 runs that came in just 12.2 overs. Pakistan as a unit lacked their buzz and were clearly on the back foot. The boundaries were peppered regularly, besides aggressive running by the two batsmen. du Plessis, one of very few batsmen in the world to adapt successfully in all three international formats, was at his innovative best whilst playing an amazing scoop stroke off Faheem Ashraf, for a six over the 1st slip region.
Apart from Imad Wasim, who took the new ball and conceded just 23 runs in his 4 overs, Pakistan bowling was on the short side for which they were punished. A flat batting with short boundaries leaves the bowlers with little or no margin for error. At the end of 15 overs, South Africa were 157-1 and aiming for somewhere close to 220 when Pakistan bowlers, backed up superb catching, got back into the game and restricted the score to 192-6.
In pursuit of 193, Pakistan lost Fakhar Zaman in the first over but Babar Azam (38 off 27 balls, 3 fours, I six) and Hussain Talat (40 off 32 balls, 5 fours), did not miss out on any scoring options. The pair gave their side a flying start and at the half way stage the score stood at 85-2 off 10 overs. The loss of Babar, run out by Miller whilst backing too far was a big wicket for South Africa. After claiming Asif Ali, the three all-rounders, Imad Wasim, Faheem Ashraf and Hasan Ali, holed out in the deep, whilst the required rate rose to 12 runs per over. After 15 overs Pakistan at 132-5, still had an outside chance to take the game, now reaching its climax in front of large crowd on Friday evening.
Skipper Shoaib, having shaved off his short beard, ran out of partners but refused to give in till he was dismissed in the final over for an entertaining 49 off 31 balls, 5 fours and a six, with three balls remaining. For best part of the match, Pakistan fancied its chances but with Miller guarding the boundary as if his life depended on it, they fell short. Hard-hitting Miller was out for 10 but did more than his fair share in the field in a day-night match by catching four batsmen in addition to run outing two. He truly was Player of the Match.
South Africa - Reeza Hendricks, Gihahn Cloete(wk), Faf du Plessis(c), Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Heinrich Klaasen, Andile Phehlukwayo, Chris Morris, Beuran Hendricks, Junior Dala, Tabraiz Shamsi
Pakistan - Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Hussain Talat, Mohammad Rizwan(wk), Shoaib Malik(c), Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Usman Shinwari
©Cricket World 2019