SA pay for last-over boo-boos
Pakistan make easy work of scoring 11 runs in the 20th
● SA dug deep into their playing reserves and for a considerable while they looked to have unearthed a performance from which they could draw confidence for the remainder of the T20 series.
In the end, however, their greenhorn side lost composure and dug holes for themselves with sloppy fielding and wayward bowling.
Amid a nerve-jangling climax, Pakistan won by four wickets with one ball to spare.
The patched-together SA side had posted a competitive 188 for six and looked to be on their way to victory when Beuran Hendricks got rid of Haider Ali and then Mohammad Nawaz.
However, Mohammad Rizwan carried the innings with 74 off 50 deliveries.
SA looked tail heavy when they were three down for 98 at the start of the 11th
The hosts however also shot themselves in the foot.
Sisanda Magala's first over in the international arena proved a misadventure, while sloppy fielding in the final over saw the match slip from their grasp.
After winning the toss in sweltering heat SA looked to be setting the tone two-thirds of the way through their innings.
Janneman Malan looked in belligerent mood early on, while Aiden Markram took a few deliveries to warm to the occasion.
After Malan hit the game’s first six he held his pose. Having struck Shaheen Afridi over his head with no more than a vertical punch, his left elbow pointed skyward for as long as it takes to guzzle a quart of beer.
As much as that was picture perfect, his flat-bat clobber of the same bowler two balls later was straight from the tradesman's manual, but it got the same result.
Hitting sixes, in whichever way they come, is more likely to catch the eye of the selectors.
Some had bemoaned the absence of Kyle Verreynne, who had already developed a taste for the Pakistan bowling. His 62 off 53 deliveries in last week’s deciding ODI again underlined his rich potential.
There is a theory that the slightly built batsman is not a natural boundary hitter, but
Hitting sixes, in whichever way, is more likely to catch the eye of selectors
his weight of runs make up for what he may lack in physique. He averages 25 in the 20over format with a strike rate of 123.
The SA line-up looked a little tail-heavy and when they were three down for 98 at the start of the 11th they needed to tread carefully.
It however didn't take long for stand-in captain Heinrich Klaasen and Pite van Biljon to hit their straps.
Their 50-run partnership was brought up with Klaasen hooking Hasan Ali for six. Klaasen went to his 50 next ball off just 24 deliveries, which broke the mark at this ground set by David Miller. He however went down moments later when a full Faheem Ashraf delivery struck him on the foot.
It didn’t fracture his foot but it certainly broke the South Africans’ momentum.
In the end the Klaasen/Van Biljon partnership yielded 61 off just 37 deliveries, but Pakistan deserve kudos for the way they contained in the closing overs.
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