Pakistan’s batting unpredictability was on display yet again as the team collapsed from 91-1 in 9 overs to 115-6 but eventually crossed the line courtesy of Muhammad Nawaz to clinch the match and series.
Chasing a pedestrian target of 145 runs on a flat track, Pakistan got off to a horror start as their prolific opener Mohammad Rizwan was stumped by wicketkeeper Heinrich Klaasen off the bowling of Bjorn Fortuin for a duck.
Opener Babar Azam and batsman Fakhar Zaman then combined for a monumental 91-run stand of 54 balls to put their side on track for an emphatic victory. Pacer Lizard Williams removed both batsmen in the same over as South Africa began a remarkable comeback into the game.
Fakhar Zaman fell first, caught by fielder Wiaan Mulder, after scoring 60 off 34 balls. Babar Azam was Williams’ next victim, caught by fielder Tabraiz Shamsi, after scoring 24 runs off 23 balls. Veteran all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez fell to spinner Tabraiz Shamsi, caught by fielder Lizard Williams after scoring 10 off 12 balls.
Haider Ali played a wild slog off the bowling of Andile Phehlukwayo, caught by fielder Bjorn Fortuin, after scoring just three off six. Pacer Sisanda Magala removed batsman Asif Ali and all-rounder Faheem Ashraf (seven off 11 balls) as the required run-rate climbed up.
With his side in trouble, all-rounder Mohammad Nawaz managed a sensible knock of 25 runs off 21 balls in order to see his side through to victory with three wickets and one ball to spare. Lizard Williams and Sisanda Magala both picked up two wickets each for their side.
Earlier, after being put into bat first, the Proteas were off to a bad start after losing in-form opener Aiden Markram early who was adjudged LBW off the bowling of spinner Mohammad Nawaz.
Opener Janneman Malan was off to a good start but was removed by all-rounder Faheem Ashraf, caught by fielder Fakhar Zaman, after scoring 33 runs off 28 balls. Skipper Heinrich Klaasen became the second victim for Faheem Ashraf, caught by fielder Shaheen Shah, after scoring just nine runs off 12 balls.
Pacer Haris Rauf then got the important wicket of batsman Rassie van der Dussen, caught by fielder Mohammad Hafeez, after scoring 52 runs off 36 balls. The Men in Green’s bowlers put their feet on the pedal at this point and started taking wickets to break the back of the Proteas’ effort.
All-rounder George Linde was removed by Faheem Ashraf, caught behind by wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan, after scoring just three runs off four balls.
Pacer Hasan Ali, who had gone for plenty earlier in the innings, returned to pick up three wickets to ensure the South African side could not mount a successful fightback.
Wiaan Mulder was caught by fielder Babar Azam, Andile Phehlukwayo was caught behind by wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan and Sisanda Magala (seven off eight) was caught by fielder Fakhar Zaman as Hasan Ali ran rampant in the closing overs of the innings.
Tailender Bjorn Fortuin and Tabraiz Shamsi were then removed by bowlers Shaheen Shah and Haris Rauf respectively as Pakistan bundled the Proteas out for just 144 runs in 19.3 overs. Faheem Ashraf was the pick of the bowlers for the Pakistan side picking up three wickets.