Cape Town – Pakistan ended a six-match losing streak at Newlands on Friday evening with a tense, six-run cricket victory over the Proteas in the second T20 International.
The win allowed the visitors to level the T20 series at 1-1, after South Africa won the first match at the Wanderers last Wednesday.
Half-centuries from Mohammad Hafeez and Umar Akmal set up Pakistan’s 176/4 on a good surface after they elected to bat.
The pair put on 102 runs for the third wicket in just 9.1 overs, with Hafeez finally finding some form with a blistering knock of 63 off just 41 balls.
Hafeez was named man of the match for his match-winning innings.
Akmal was even quicker, with 64 from only 33 balls. The wicket-keeper’s innings including five fours and four sixes.
The pair were particularly severe on Proteas' left-arm Aaron Phangiso, who came in for leg-spinner Imran Tahir.
Phangiso was smashed for three sixes in his third over Ä the 12th of the innings Ä with Hafeez (two) and Akmal smashing him straight back over his head.
The over leaked 21 runs, which was the momentum Pakistan required.
Hafeez eventually fell to his nemesis Dale Steyn, who also picked up Akmal to finish with 2/29. Steyn was South Africa’s most successful bowler.
South Africa’s reply started in good fashion, with openers Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla keeping up the required run-rate.
They put on 58 for the first wicket in just 7.1 overs, but the introduction of Shahid Afridi ended De Kock’s enterprising cameo of 26 off 24 balls with the very first delivery of his spell.
The young left-hander swept powerfully, but could only find Nasir Jamshed on the square-leg boundary.
Amla continued to keep South Africa’s fight alive, despite losing his captain Faf du Plessis (6) and AB de Villiers (13) in quick succession.
Afridi was Pakistan’s star, with the ball claiming all three wickets.
Afridi finished with figures of 3/28, to send the big sections of Pakistani fans in the crowd into a frenzy.
South Africa’s task became stiffer when Amla (48 off 40 balls, 5x4) was dismissed by Saeed Ajmal two runs short of his maiden T20
half-century when he was caught by Bilawal Bhatti.
JP Duminy and David Miller took South Africa close with a partnership of 53 off just 28 balls to revive the run-chase.
However, the pair left it too late, with the Proteas requiring 17 runs off the final over to claim an almost impossible victory.
Ultimately, the Proteas got only 10 runs off the last over bowled by Sohail Tanvir, with Duminy left stranded on 47 not out. Miller finished on 22 not out.
The teams return to Newlands on Sunday for the first One-Day International of the three-match series. – Sapa