Pakistan finally won the well contested T20I series 2-1 vs South Africa beating the tourists by 4 wickets in 3rd ODI at Lahore but not before David Miller played a heroic knock of 85 to first rescue the Proteas and then put up a decent score on board.
Batting first South Africa looked all over the place in first half of their innings as only Janneman Malan (27) played with any degree of confidence . However the tourists slumped to 64/7 in the face of some disciplined bowling by Zahid Mahmood (3/40) , Md Nawaz (2/13) and Hassan Ali ( 2/29) .
However David Miller , who started sedately biding his time decided to explode in last 5 overs and unleashed brutal shots all round the ground aided by some poor line and length bowling by Pakistanis .He hit 5 fours and 7 sixes and destroyed the Pakistan attack in last few overs taking 25 off the final over. The hosts were awestruck by the ferocious fightback as South Africa reached a decent 164/8 with Miller hitting a blistering 85 notout off 45 balls to set up a tight finish.
In reply Pakistan was once again aided by Rizwan whi followed up with scores of 104*, 51 with another fluent 42 full of crisp shots. Skipper Babar Azam scored a stylish 44 off 30 balls to keep Pakistan in the hunt inspite of superb bowling in middle overs by Tabrez Shamsi who took 4/25 in 4 overs of deceptive leg spin. Pakistan however was always in the hunt as the dew took effect . At the end with 16 required off 12 balls , Phehlukwayo bowled a poor 19th over and could not control his length and slower balls resulting in Hassan Ali taking full toll scoring 20 notout off 7 balls accompanied by maan of the match Md Nawaz ( 18 notout off 11 balls) to complete a superb Pakistan win as they took the series 2-1 .
This match win is incidentally Pakistan’s 100th T20I win on 164 T20I games , the highest so far by any cricket nation.
Rizwan for his prolific series was named player of the series .
Brief scores :
South Africa 164/8 (20 overs)
Pakistan 168/6 ( 18.4 overs )
Pakistan win by 4 wickets
**by Amitava Mukherjee