Pakistan defeated South Africa after chasing its 274-run target with 3 wickets remaining. The Pakistani team saw Babar Azam and Imam-ul-Haq’s 177 run partnership that helped in taking the first of three ODIs in the tour.
After Babar Azam returned to the pavilion the batting crumbled despite having an advantage and low pressure. A match that could have been an easy win was made into a last-ball thriller by the green shirts.
The touring team lost its first wicket to Kagiso Rabada who bowled Fakhar Zaman for 8. This led the incoming partnership of Babar Azam and Imam to play on the backfoot until the 9th and 10th over when Baber scored three boundaries in 7 balls. The pair grew comfortable after that, with Babar scoring his half-century as Pakistan completed their century in the 22nd over.
Baber was caught behind on the delivery by Arnrich Nortje after he completed his century in the 32nd over, leaving the pitch with a 103 on 104 balls. Nortje also picked Imam’s wicket at 70, and sending out the next in the batting order, Danish Aziz, for just 3. The express pacer’s fiery second spell produced a fourth-wicket as Asif Ali lost his wicket as well.
The Pakistani team found a better fitting with Mohammad Rizwan and Shadab Khan’s partnership. But just when the 70-run partnership had done the job, Rizwan played a careless stroke and was caught.
The match was not concluded by Faheem Ashraf having to hit a four off the final ball to get the team across the finish line.
South Africa’s inning
South African openers Quinton de Kock and Aiden Markram were given a tough time by the Pakistani bowling offensive led by Shaheen Afridi and Mohammad Hasnain. After settling in, both were dismissed for 20 and 19 respectively.
New captain Temba Bavuma returned to the pavilion after just a single run, as Hasnain taking his wicket, with Afridi being the catcher. Soon after, Rassie van der Dussen was dropped in the slips by Asif Ali, a crucial lapse by the Pakistani team which lowered the mounting pressure on the SA side.
At the end of 10 overs, South Africa were 43-3. Van der Dussen and David Miller stabilised the inning with a partnership that saw South Africa bring up their century in the 23rd over. The 150 was up nine overs later as the pair made sure it was not going to be a one-sided inning.
Haris Rauf taking Miller’s wicket at 50-runs for 56 deliveries ended the 116-run partnership.
The hosts completed their 200 in the 43rd over, with Van der Dussen in his 80s and Andile Phehlukwayo on the other end. Van der Dussen’s maiden ODI century was completed in the 47th over. In the end, he finished with a 134-ball 123 and helped his side finish 273-6.