Johannesburg - A record-breaking batting display from centurions Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers took South Africa to a 34-run win over Pakistan in the third one-day international on Sunday.
The South African pair set a record third-wicket ODI partnership of 238 as the hosts scored 343 for five to set Pakistan an imposing target which, despite a thrilling 88 from Shahid Afridi, they fell short of on 309 all out.
It was a batting master class from Amla and De Villiers with an array of both orthodox and audacious shots to thrill a capacity crowd of 28 000 at the Wanderers and beat the previous record of 237 set by India against Kenya in 1999.
Amla, who in the second over had an lbw decision against him overturned on review, was caught by Misbah-ul-Haq on 122 while captain de Villiers made 128 before skying one to the deep that Shoaib Malik did well to catch off Saeed Ajmal.
A cameo of 45 from Faf du Plessis off just 19 balls added to the tally at the end of the innings.
However, the South African batting performance came close to being overshadowed by another spell-binding slog from Afridi, who was driving Pakistan to victory before he was caught on 88.
He showed why he is nicknamed “Boom Boom” as he plundered seven sixes and five fours in an astonishing display of power hitting.
Afridi's innings lasted just 48 balls although he got a life while on 73 when he chopped on to his stumps but on review bowler Ryan McLaren was no-balled by the umpire.
“It was a special knock. We got down on ourselves but I told the guys we were seeing something special,” said De Villiers of Afridi's onslaught, which included a six that cleared the grandstand.
Once Afridi departed with Pakistan still 99 runs short, it proved too big a target.
South Africa, who played in a pink uniform to raise awareness of breast cancer, lead the five-match series 2-1 with games to come in Durban on Thursday and Benoni next Sunday.
Pakistan have called up left-arm pace bowler Sohail Tanvir as cover for Umar Gul and Mohammad Irfan, who have fitness issues.
“He was already in South Africa so he was asked to join the team as a cover for Gul and Irfan who are unfit,” chief selector Iqbal Qasim told Reuters.
Irfan bowled seven overs on Sunday but limped off the field after aggravating a hamstring strain. Gul did not play. - Reuters