Steyn and De Kock shine in SA victory
Proteas clinch ODI series as ace quick grabs career-best 5/25
DALE Steyn spoiled what ws looking like a Pakistan revival and took a career-best 5/25 to lead South Africa to a stunning 28-run victory in the fourth ODI and helped his side to an unassailable 3-1 lead in the fivematch series here at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium last night.
After scoring 266/5 off their 50 overs South Africa bowled Pakistan out for 238 with five balls remaining and made the final game of the series in Sharjah on Monday irrelevant.
It was not only Steyn’s night but a celebratory one for 20year- old opener Quinton de Kock, who scored a maiden ODI century.
It was a solid all- round effort from the South Africans, who never gave up, even when there was a fightback from the home side through their captain Misbah- ul- Haq, who fought a battle on his own after the star of their batting earlier on, Sohaib Maqsood, had left centre-stage.
Ul-Haq (65 off 76 balls, 4x4, 1x6) was Steyn’s fourth victim in a career-best 10-0-25-5 return, while his other wickets were those of Sohail Tanvir (one), Maqsood (56), Umar Akmal (22) and Saeed Ajmal (0).
Captain AB de Villiers used Steyn shrewdly in short bursts and he produced the results to bag his second five-fer in the ODI stage. His last one was against India in Nagpur on March 12, 2011.
Maqsood, brought into the side to replace Umer Amin, rose to the occasion and at one stage threatened to steal the game for Pakistan. His blistering innings of 56 with six fours and two sixes – both off legspinner Imran Tahir – was ended by Steyn in the 37th over as he went for yet another big heave and was caught in the deep by De Villiers.
At 174/4 Pakistan were still in it, but the loss of Sohail Tanvir (one) added more pressure as the run-rate dipped and the pressure mounted. There was little the Pakistanis could offer as the tail, which included Shahid Afridi, contributed just nine runs in total.
Earlier de Kock’s century proved to be just the tonic the Proteas neededs. The 20-yearold Lions wicketkeeper-batsman rode his luck after being dropped on two by Hafeez off Sohail Tanvir with the score on 11 and never looked back.
He played like an experienced campaigner in just his ninth ODI and took on the bowlers – reaching his century with a huge six to long-on off the tall Mohammad Irfan, to joyfully raise his arms and be congratulated by his skipper.
The youngster set the platform for South Africa with Hashim Amla (46) – they added 87 for the first wicket – and from there a 42-run stand for the second with Faf du Plessis (10). With De Villiers (30), De Kock squeezed out 81 for the third wicket off 81 balls.
When he departed – at 210/4 – he had faced 135 deliveries, and had struck a six and nine fours in his knock.
Even before De Kock had left the scene, runs had started drying up as Pakistan put the squeeze on – 35 runs came between the 35th and 40th overs, but in the next five just 23 were recorded.
But the unbroken sixth wicket stand of 52 in 38 balls between JP Duminy, who batted at No 6, and Ryan McLaren (28) boosted the total to 266/5. Duminy ended unbeaten on 25.
It didn’t look as though the South Africans would go past the 240 mark but Duminy and McLaren had other ideas and propelled the score to the highest by the Proteas in nine games.
Hafeez, guilty of dropping De Kock at the start of the innings, proved to be the pick of the Pakistan bowlers while Junaid Khan, preferred ahead of Wahab Riaz, bagged 2-42.
Interestingly the two spinners – Shahid Afridi (0-38), Saeed Ajmal (0-53) – who have troubled the Proteas in the earlier games – looked subdued. Irfan, lively on the Dubai and Sharjah tracks and when he last played here, did little to unsettle the batsmen last night. The three key Pakistan bowlers went for 142 in a total of 26 overs.
DE KOCK’s BIG KNOCK: Quinton de Kock celebrates his first ODI century in Abu Dhabi last night. His knock of 112 included nine fours and a six.
TAKE FIVE: Dale Steyn turned the game on its head with career-best figures.