JOHANNESBURG – “In that last over, Andile kept telling me ‘Don’t worry, I’ve got this. Don’t worry, I’ve got this’, so I left him to his plans and he pulled it off,” remarked Proteas stand-in skipper David Miller about the dramatic conclusion to another gloriously entertaining T20 match with Pakistan.
The tourists need 15 runs off that last over on Sunday at the Wanderers.
Andile Phehlukwayo allowed them to score seven, mixing up his pace superbly and picking up two wickets in the process.
The seven-run win wrapped up the series for the home side, and inflicted a first T20 series defeat on Pakistan in their last 11 in the shortest format.
That underlines just what an achievement this is for the South Africans, one claimed without a host of star players who are being rested ahead of the Tests and ODIs against Sri Lanka coming up in a few weeks’ time.
“It’s very, very satisfying. There are a lot of new guys in the side, two guys playing in their first game today,” Miller said.
“(Lutho) Sipamla bowled incredibly well, and (Janneman) Malan showed that he belonged here, so that’s really good signs for the future of the Proteas.”
Indeed 20-year-old Sipamla, along with Tabraiz Shamsi, helped reign in Pakistan after Babar Azam had provided an explosive start in the first five overs of the Power Play.
Babar’s was an innings packed with outrageous strokeplay, serving to underline just why Mickey Arthur keeps saying he’ll be among the sport’s elite batsmen very soon.
He finished with 90 (58 balls, 13x4, 1x6), but the skill employed by the South African bowlers towards the end of the chase ensured the innings was in vain.
Earlier, Miller had produced a punishing last over to take the Proteas beyond the target of 170, which they had set for themselves during a half-an-hour break for rain.
“Getting over 180 was a real bonus,” said Miller.
He’d provided that bonus, taking 28 runs – there was an extra via a no-ball from Usman Shinwari too – that ultimately took the game beyond Pakistan.
“That over changed the game,” Arthur acknowledged. “We didn’t bowl according to our plans, and in that over, we bowled in his area.”
Miller, who finished not out on 65 (29 balls, 4x4, 5x6) agreed.
“You’ve got to swing from the hip at that stage – I took him down the first two balls.
“I just tried to set myself, hit my areas and he bowled in certain areas that I enjoy. I just tried to hit it as far as possible.”
Miller was captaining his country for the first time, with Faf du Plessis being given a break, and admitted it wasn’t only the last few overs of the match that were tense.
“The first six overs were more stressful than the back four; the guys bowled incredibly well after the start we had.”
What a series for this man so far! 👏— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) February 3, 2019
Stand-in captain, David Miller is named today’s @KFCSA Man of the Match for his 65 off 29 balls. Star quality! 🔥🇿🇦#KFCT20 #ProteaFire #SAvPAK pic.twitter.com/bCRDom7Lcm
He changed the pre-innings plan by employing Shamsi at the end of the Power Play. “That was something different that we had to try at that stage. They’d scored (63) in the first five overs, and Shammo got us back into it very well with that over.”
Shamsi conceded seven runs in that sixth over and three in the eighth to get the Proteas back in the game.
Around those two overs, Sipamla conceded eight runs in his first two overs, further showing off the potential that first gained prominence during the Mzansi Super League.
South Africa win!! 💚🇿🇦🔥— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) February 3, 2019
Andile Phehlukwayo picks up two wickets and restricts Pakistan to just seven runs in the last over.
The Standard Bank Proteas deal victory by 7 runs and take unassailable 2-0 lead in the series. #SAvPAK #KFCT20 #ProteaFire pic.twitter.com/8bPKKCJKTz
Thanks to that, South Africa had a sniff before the last two overs bowled by Chris Morris and Phehlukwayo.
Morris conceded 12, but picked up two wickets in the 19th, and then came Phehlukwayo.
“It doesn’t get better as a player,” said Miller. “You prepare for moments like that, you long for them, because it’s so rewarding.
“Credit goes to (Andile), he’s been prepping really well... he’s got a level head, a lot of variations, and he pulled them out tonight.”@shockerhess