PORT ELIZABETH: Pakistan held on to clinch a spectacular one-run victory in the rain hit second One Day International against South Africa in a nail-biting thriller that went down till the very last ball, ESPNCricinfo reported Wednesday.
The PCB chairman was quick to tweet his congratulations to the team’s fighting spirit.
The win was not easy to come for Pakistan who had set South Africa a daunting 263 run target to chase. The Proteas also looked set to achieve the target with skipper AB de Villers and Hashim Amla calmly standing their ground against all that the Pakistani bowlers threw at them.
The South African captain unleashed his famous striking ability against veteran bowlers like Saeed Ajmal as easily as he punished youngsters like Anwar Ali.
With the match restricted to 45-overs a side, South Africa found themselves in the ascendancy in the 39th over, requiring just 36 runs off 38 balls. Captain de Villiers was batting strongly on 74 runs off 45 deliveries, while his batting partner, opener Hashim Amla, was on 87 runs off 117 balls and eyeing another century. But Junaid, who had been smacked for two successive boundaries off successive balls by de Villiers at the beginning of the over, manage to seduce the South African captain to go for another fancy shot and was caught by Afridi at deep square leg.
With a well-set Amla on the crease and hitters like JP Duminy, David Miller and Ryan McLaren available, the hosts managed to keep the momentum going and needed 11 runs from the last two overs.
In desperation, Misbah threw the ball to Saeed Ajmal.
Ajmal’s strangling spin stifled South Africa as the spinner conceded just two runs off five balls, and got the wicket of a nervy Amla, 98. The over helped pull things back in Pakistan’s favour a little.
With nine required from the last six balls, Junaid was tasked with bowling the last over. The left-arm pacer stuck to the time-tested strategy of pacy full-length balls that the Proteas failed to put away.
Duminy was caught brilliantly by Anwer Ali off the second ball of the over. Incoming batsman David Miller though failed to score a boundary in any of the next three balls, that left South Africa needing six runs off the last ball for his team to win.
Junaid hurled another fast yorker. The delivery missed the bat, the wicket, as well as the keeper’s gloves to head straight for the boundary. Junaid finished with figures of three wickets off nine overs, having conceded 42 runs.
In the end, South Africa could only manage 261 runs in response to their opponent’s 262, and lost the first bilateral home series to Pakistan.
Ahmed Shehzad was awarded Man-of-the-Match for his 102 that helped set up Pakistan’s victory.
Having already won the first match in Cape Town on Saturday by 23-runs, Pakistan clinched the three match series 2-0. The last match of the series will be played at the Centurion on Saturday.
Earlier, Pakistan rode opener Ahmed Shehzad’s brilliant century to post a daunting target of 263 runs.
Rain had delayed start of play, forcing umpires to reduce the match to 45 overs a side.
After South Africa won the toss and sent Pakistan in to bat, Steyn struck with Nasir Jamshed’s wicket in the very first over.
Vice captain Mohammad Hafeez once again gifted his wicket to Dale Steyn yet again, in what happens to be his 15th dismissal off the pacer in 20 matches.
In stark contrast, Ahmed Shehzad unfurled a lovely array of shots to complete the third ODI century of his career consisting eight fours and two majestic sixes. He was run-out on 102 runs from 112 balls.
Sohaib Maqsood scored 42 runs while captain Misbahul Haq continued his dry streak with a score of 12. Under pressure all rounder Shahid Afridi managed only 11 runs.
At this point, Umar Akmal came out in a punishing mood and blasted 42 runs from just 30 deliveries with the help of four fours and two sixes.
He was helped by Bilawal Bhatti, who struck three boundaries in one Dale Steyn over. On the last ball of the over, though, Steyn got the better of of Bhatti to send him back to the pavilion for 21 runs.
The match was not without its controversy. Anwar Ali was adjudged out in one of Steyn’s overs for ‘obstructing the field’, the act of intentionally changing direction as a way to block a fielder’s throw.
Steyn ended the innings with a career-best bowling figures of taking six wickets while conceding 39 runs.
Earlier, Pakistan had named an unchanged squad from the side that one the first match in Cape Town by 23 runs on Sunday.
South Africa made two changes with all-rounder Ryan McLaren and left-arm swing bowler Lonwabo Tsotsobe replacing Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel.
Pakistan: Misbahul Haq (captain), Nasir Jamshed, Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Sohaib Maqsood, Umar Akmal (wkt), Shahid Afridi, Bilawal Bhatti, Anwar Ali, Saeed Ajmal, Junaid Khan.
South Africa: AB de Villiers (captain), Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock (wkt), Jacques Kallis, JP Duminy, David Miller, Ryan McLaren, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Imran Tahir