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A crucial seventh-wicket partnership between Farhaan Behardien and Robin Peterson saved South Africa from disaster in the second Momentum ODI against Pakistan, in Centurion, on Friday.
The hosts reached 191 all out in a rain-interrupted innings, after the pair came together at 106 for six, in the 21st over.
They added a patient 67 runs, off 108 deliveries, until Behardien tried to clear the square leg boundary and was caught by Shoaib Malik, off Mohammad Hafeez. He scored his maiden half-century playing in his third ODI.
The Proteas, who won the toss and opted to bat first, found themselves in trouble with their three senior players all back in the change rooms early.
Pakistan were rewarded for their decision to include an extra seam bowler in their attack and Mohammad Irfan duly obliged with a career best four for 33.
Playing in his sixth ODI, Irfan, whose previous best bowling figures were two for 28 against India in Delhi in January this year, took three wickets for 16 initially and continued to bowl seven overs on the trot. However, he injured his hamstring while fielding and was unable to bowl again.
His first scalp was Hashim Amla, looking to hit the ball through cover, but getting a faint edge through to the keeper for 17.
Colin Ingram went out off the next delivery, also given out caught behind after the decision was referred sent for review. A puzzled Ingram walked off, apparently given out on noise alone, as replays showed no evidence of the ball hitting the bat.
Irfan was on a hat-trick which was not to be, but he did not have to wait long for his third scalp.
Skipper AB de Villiers (4) was trying to run the ball down to third man but Irfan got some extra bounce which caught the edge of the bat and Younus Khan took the catch at second slip.
When Graeme Smith (10) fell to Junaid Khan, the Proteas were 43 for four with their three senior batsmen all back in the change room in only the eighth over.
Despite their strong position, there were too many loose deliveries from the Pakistan bowlers allowing Faf du Plessis and Behardien to maintain a high run-rate.
There was nothing Du Plessis (17) could have done to prevent Irfan's fourth wicket. The ball bounced up at him and the batsman was unable to keep it down as he moved one hand off the bat. The ball hit his glove and sent Irfan diving low to his left to take a one-handed catch.
Behardien and Ryan McLaren shared a sixth wicket stand of 44 runs, off 59 deliveries until Mohammad Hafeez came on to bowl.
Hafeez took a wicket in his first over, trapping McLaren (17) between middle and leg after an unsuccessful appeal for a similar appeal off the previous ball.
With the wicket of Behardien came the rain and there was a two-and-a half hour break before play continued with South Africa on 177 for seven in the 39th over.
The match was reduced to 44 overs aside but South Africa were bowled out with four balls to spare.
Peterson's was the last wicket to fall after he made 44 -- the second highest score -- as Saeed Ajmal Junaid and Hafeez all finished with two wickets apiece.Pakistan face a target of 192 off 44 overs. – Sapa