Steyn and De Kock shine in SA vic­tory

Proteas clinch ODI se­ries as ace quick grabs ca­reer-best 5/25

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT - IQBAL KHAN

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.

GALLO IM­AGES

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.

GETTY IM­AGES

TAKE FIVE: Dale Steyn turned the game on its head with ca­reer-best fig­ures.

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