From our correspondent
LAHORE: David Miller’s fiery 45- all 85 not out went in vain as Pakistan downed South Africa by four wickets with eight balls to spare in the third and final match to win the three-match T20 series 2-1 here at the Gaddafi Stadium on Sunday.
This was the first T20 series from South Africa in the sub-continent and fourth successive series defeat which has put a lot of pressure on the team management. Under Mark Boucher as head coach the Proteas have lost six trophies out of eight since December 2019.
At one stage South Africa, after being invited to bat, were reduced to 65-7 at half way stage of their innings. And it seemed that the visitors would find it too difficult to set any tough target. However Miller had thought otherwise. The left-handed batsman played a dominant knock, hitting every bowler over the park particularly Faheem Ashraf who he hit him for four sixes in the final over that enabled South Africa to score 164-8. This was Miller’s first fifty after two years, with his previous coming also against Pakistan in March 2019 at Johannesburg.
Miller’s terrific effort was studded with seven sixes and five fours . Earlier on in the innings Mohammad Nawaz boosted Pakistan’s position by removing opener Reeza Hendricks (2) and JJ Smuts (1) in his two successive overs. Pite van Biljoin (16) then hit Hasan for three successive fours before he was clean bowled by the right-armed with a slower one to leave the visitors struggling at 40-3 in six overs. Debutant leg-spinner Zahid Mahmood then had a dream debut first over when he got rid of South Africa’s skipper Heinrich Kalaasen (0) and Janneman Malan (27) to reduce South Africa to 46-5 in the seventh over. And in the same over Zahid had thought that he had Phehlukwayo (0), as the umpire had given him out but the review showed that the ball was missing the stump. Phehlukwayo then was undone by leggie Usman Qadir without opening his account. Miller at this stage got little bit support from Dwaine Pretorius (9) who was bowled by Zahid and Bjorn Fortuin (10) who was bowled by Hasan Ali as South Africa were 106-8 at that stage. Miller then showed a glimpse of magical hitting as he dominated the rapid 58-run ninth wicket unbroken stand with Lutho Sipamla (8*) to take South Africa posting a competitive total.
Zahid got 3-40 in four overs while Nawaz (2-13 in 2) and Hasan (2-29 in 4) also contributed well.
In response Mohammad Rizwan (42) batted with authority but failed to join the world’s elite club featuring Chris Gayle and McCullum who have scored fifty plus in their four successive innings in T20 cricket. Rizwan, who was trapped leg before off Tabraiz Shamsi, set a good momentum by adding 51 runs for the opening stand with Haider Ali (15). Rizwan smashed two sixes and five fours in his quick-fire 30-ball knock. It was a good day with the bat for skipper Babar Azam (44) who after scoring zero and five in the first two games, batted superbly, hitting one six and five fours in his 30-ball knock. Pakistan lost a few quick wickets at this stage in quest of runs. However Mohammad Nawaz’s 18 not out off 11 balls and Hasan Ali seven-ball 20 not out enabled Pakistan complete the chase with eight balls to spare. Nawaz hit one six and two fours while Hasan smacked two sixes and one four.
Left-arm spinner Shamsi pulled off his career-best figures of 4-25 in his quota of four overs. Nawaz was declared as man of the match while Mohammad Rizwan pocketed man of the series award.