South Africa v Pakistan 4th ODI - Rampant Pakistan too hot on Pink Day
The Pakistan team, led astutely by its make-shift captain Shoaib Malik, beat South Africa convincingly by 8 wickets to level the ODI series at 2-2.
Its first ever win at the Wanderers, Johannesburg, spoiled the party for the home side that suffered its first ever defeat on a Pink Day fixture. The tourists’ wicket-taking ability in the middle overs, came to the fore as eight South African wickets tumbled in no time, for the five-match series, now to be decided in Cape Town, in three days time.
Pakistan won the toss and decided to bowl against South Africa at the New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg today in 4th ODI
South Africa 164 (Hashim Amla 59, Faf du Plessis 57; Usman Shinwari 4-35)
Pakistan 168-2 (Imam ul-Haq 71, Fakhar Zaman 44, Babar Azam 41*)
Result - Pakistan won by 8 wickets
The ICC, very rightly handed Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed a four-match suspension, following his unnecessarily foolish racist outburst in the second ODI at Durban. To many, the new look Pakistan side with highly-rated Mohammad Rizwan walking in as wicket-keeper batsman, would provide a bit more energy to the side. It was proven correct as Rizwan was pretty smart behind the wickets and hit a winning boundary, a back foot cut behind point to see Pakistan home by 8 wickets with 18.3 overs to spare.
Shoaib’s opting to field first was bit unexpected but his decision was vindicated by Shaheen Afridi’s two early wickets of de Kock without scoring and Reeza Kendrick for just 2, in a spell of 2-14 off 5 overs. Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis asked to rebuild the innings were equal to the challenge. The introduction of two spinners – Shadab Khan and Imad Wasim – after 14 overs with South Africa trying to break away, proved a key. Shadab with turn and bounce on offer did go for few boundaries but had the last laugh by having du Plessis, sweeping a leg-break, straight to the deep mid-wicket fielder. With 12 runs already taken in the over, he sent back South African captain, who had 57 off 76 balls to his name.
The leg-spinner held his nerve well in his 8-over spell and was equally supported by Imad, who bowled a straight 10-over spell, with an important wicket of Amla, who had stroked an elegant 59 off 75 balls with 7 fours and setting his stall for a big hundred. A left-armer with accurate over-spin and bounce, as two key weapons at his disposal, is a tailor-made thinking cricketer in white ball cricket. A real bonus for Pakistan. During the 101-run 3rd-wicket stand in 20.5 overs, South Africa were realistically aiming for 300 plus in front of animated crowd, with pink colour dominating the whole of the Wanderers.
The Pakistan slow bowlers had been able to grip the ball on Johannesburg wicket and contain the run rate. South Africa having reached 107 for 2 at the half stage of 25 overs and set to accelerate, had its wheels coming off so dramatically, following the dismissal of its two half centurions. Three left-arm quicks got into the act with Usman Shinwari sending back the dangerous in form van der Dussen, caught at the wicket for 18 and despatching both Dale Steyn and Kagiso Rabada within four balls in the 38th over. In claiming 4 for 35 off 7 overs, he won the Player of the Match award. The crowd had not often seen the home side on such a slippery slope to lose eight wickets for 45 runs in 15 overs, to be dismissed for 164 in 41 overs.
South Africa were denied any early inroads by the left-handed pair of Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman, both determined to provide a platform for the side. The openers chose to be assertive and with the ball coming to the bat nicely continued to keep the run-rate above five runs an over. Fakhar’s run-a-ball 44 came to an end with a catch on the mid-wicket fence but not before the score had reached 70 in the 14th over and later progressed to 100 coming in 18.3 overs.
The 2nd wicket stand between Imam and Babar, with all the time in the world, manoeuvred the ball beautifully and avoided any silly run outs that often feature in Pakistan run chase. Imam’s calmness allows the rest of the batsmen to bat around him and today it worked well, once again. Imam’s innings of 71 off 91 balls with 7 fours and a six over wide long-off of a low Imran Tahir full-toss, came to an end with scores level. Babar with an unbeaten 41 off 53 balls, never looked under any pressure, in a fluent batting display. The finish line was nigh as Pakistan supporters celebrated a memorable win on a memorable day, dedicated to breast cancer awareness.
South Africa - Quinton de Kock(wk), Hashim Amla, Reeza Hendricks, Faf du Plessis(c), Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Beuran Hendricks, Imran Tahir, Dale Steyn
Pakistan - Imam ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Rizwan(wk), Shoaib Malik(c), Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Amir, Usman Shinwari, Shaheen Afridi
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