CAPE TOWN – South Africa’s bowlers restricted Pakistan to 240/8 in the series-deciding final ODI at Newlands on Wednesday afternoon.
After winning the toss, the decision was vindicated with an impressive performance from the entire bowling unit.
The Proteas showed their versatility with leg-spinner Imran Tahir opening the bowling, although it was Dale Steyn who made the initial breakthrough when the in-form Imam-ul-Haq spliced an attempted hook shot to Dwaine Pretorius at fine leg.
The latter was one of two changes the home team made to their line-up, with Pretorius replacing left-arm seamer Beuran Hendricks and young all-rounder Wiaan Mulder coming into the XI for David Miller.
This meant South Africa fielded three seam-bowling all-rounders, which was quite strange, considering the batting unit have not been firing throughout the series.
However, the decision to play an extra bowler paid off, with the Pakistani wickets shared among the entire bowling unit.
Only opening batsman Fakhar Zaman seemed to be able to contend with the onslaught as the left-hander stroked 70 off 73 balls, before he too fell victim to an Andile Phehlukwayo slower-ball.
Phehlukwayo (2/42) had earlier struck in his very first over when he claimed the key wicket of Mohammed Hafeez for 17.
There were also two wickets for Pretorius (2/46) and one apiece for Steyn (1/51), Rabada (1/43) and Mulder (1/20).
Pakistan were held together by their lower-order, with Imad Wasim smashing 47 not out off just 31 balls (4x4, 2x6), which gave the visitors’ impressive bowling attack at least something substantial to defend.