South Africa won the toss and decided to bowl against Pakistan at Newlands, Cape Town in the 5th and deciding ODI of the series
South Africa 241 – 3 (Quinton de Kock 83, Faf du Plessis 50*, Rassie van der Dussen 50*)
Pakistan 240 - 8 (Fakhar Zaman 70, Imad Wasim 47*; Andile Phehlukwayo 2-42, Dwaine Pretorius 2-46)
Result - South Africa won by 7 wickets
The tourists had the taste of their own medicine when by virtue of losing key players in the middle overs, Pakistan finished with a below par total. Today’s defeat needs to be looked at in an historic perspective, for in a bi-lateral one-day series, the last occasion when Pakistan won a series, against any opponent, with a win in the final and deciding match, was way back in 2002.
Today the target of 241 set by Pakistan was made to look even smaller by the brilliance of Quinton de Kock, who out to a no-ball early on, took the game away with his trademark strokes. A breath-taking 83 off just 58 balls with 11 fours and 3 sixes. His innings simply killed the match for the Pakistanis, who despite a wholehearted effort had no answer to de Kock’s onslaught. South Africa reached 100 in the 15th over for the loss of just one wicket and later on when captain Faf du Plessis and van-der Dussen were batting together for the 4th wicket stand, the target had come down to 30 runs off 15 overs.
None of the Pakistan bowlers looked at their best, more so its two spinners Shadab Khan who went for 78 runs in his 10 overs and Imad gave away 38 runs in 7 overs. du Plessis and van der Dussen, with all the time in the world, took their partnership to 95. In a statistically clinical finish, van der Dussen, hit Shadab for a straight six to bring up his fifty and a series win for South Africa, with exactly 10 overs to spare, after du Plessis had already reached 50.
Put in to bat Pakistan needed one of its top batsmen to make a major contribution. That did not happen. The in-form Imam-ul-Haq, half asleep it seemed, top edged Dale Steyn, early on and Babar Azam was bowled behind his legs for a breezy 24 off 25 balls with 4 fours. Despite the loss of two key wickets, the run-rate remained above five runs an over. In the 21st over the score had reached 108 for 2 and it seemed Pakistan were on their way to 300 plus score. It was at this stage that South Africa induced silly errors from batsmen to claim wickets and also bring the run rate down.
A blow on his helmet off Steyn, did not hinder Fakhar Zaman who raced to 70 off 73 balls and once again showed he is a big match player. Fourth out, caught at deep fine-leg, near the half stage of the innings, he left the lower order batsmen to consolidate and flourish. The tourists with good positive intention did not get the measure of the seamers, Dwaine Pretorious and Andile Phehlukwayo, picking up two wickets apiece.
The sixth wicket of captain Shoaib Malik, run out after a responsible 31 off 44 balls in the 39th over, left the batting side with no recognized batsman to hit out in the last 10 overs of the innings. Without left-handed Imad Wasim, who played a splendid innings, Pakistan could not have reached 240-8, a respectable total. At least 40-60 runs short of what the team batting first expected on this surface. Not many No.8s in world cricket will bat better than Imad, who reads the game well and has the confidence to leave the big shots for the final overs. His unbeaten 47 off 31 balls featured four fours and two sixes, one of Steyn and other off the last ball of the innings off Kagiso Rabada.
South Africa - Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock(wk), Reeza Hendricks, Faf du Plessis(c), Rassie van der Dussen, Willem Mulder, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada, Dwaine Pretorius, Imran Tahir
Pakistan - Imam ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik(c), Mohammad Rizwan(wk), Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Amir, Usman Shinwari, Shaheen Afridi
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