South Africa 145 for 4 (Hendricks 42, van Biljon 42, Afridi 2-18) beat Pakistan 144 for 7 (Rizwan 51, Pretorius 5-17) by six wickets
South Africa broke a losing streak that stretched back five T20Is to last February and stayed alive in the ongoing series in Pakistan by successfully chasing 145 in foggy conditions in Lahore.
They laid the groundwork for victory after choosing to field for the second successive match and restricting Pakistan to a below-par total, thanks to an outstanding performance by Dwaine Pretorius. He claimed the best bowling figures for South Africa in T20Is with 5 for 17, beating Ryan McLaren’s 5 for 19.
Pretorius took a wicket at the start and returned to take four in the last quarter of the innings to keep the hosts to a chaseable total. Reeza Hendricks and Pite van Biljon‘s 77-run third-wicket stand set South Africa up for victory, and David Miller sealed it with 22 balls to spare.
The final T20I of the series takes place at the same venue on Sunday.
The Rizwan show
Having struck an unbeaten 104 in the first T20I, Mohammad Rizwan once again anchored the Pakistan innings with his 51. Again, his innings made up a significant proportion of Pakistan’s total. Rizwan scored 61.54% of their runs in the first match and more than a third of their total in this match.
Rizwan was off the mark by slog-sweeping the first ball of the match for four. Then he cashed in on Glenton Stuurman’s first over in international cricket, which was littered with overpitched deliveries onto the pads, and punished his slower ball, and made Lutho Sipamla pay for anything full. Rizwan’s fifty came up off 39 balls and he only faced two more before holing out to long-off off a Pretorius slower ball in a bid to up the scoring rate in the last five overs.
Shamsi gets the squeeze on
South Africa gave away just 50 runs in the nine overs between the end of the powerplay and the start of the last five, thanks largely to their wristspinner Tabraiz Shamsi. He bowled ten dot balls in his four overs and did not concede a single boundary as he flighted the ball and varied his pace to keep the Pakistan batsmen guessing. Shamsi was only rewarded with one wicket, which came off his second ball, when Hussain Talat tried a second successive reverse sweep off him but sent the ball straight to van Biljon at backward point.
And Pretorius scoops the biggest prizes
Pretorius made the first incision into the Pakistan line-up when he had Babar Azam trapped lbw with the second ball of the second over of the match. The ball nipped back in from a length as Babar played around his front pad and was struck in front of middle stump but the Pakistan captain, whose form has been wretched since his return from injury, reviewed to no avail. Despite that success, Pretorius only bowled one over in his opening spell as Heinrich Klaasen rotated his bowlers early on.
He brought Pretorius back to replace Shamsi in the 14th over, with Pakistan yet to bring up 100. Pretorius piled on the pressure when he had Iftikhar Ahmed skying an offcutter into the lights, and David Miller at midwicket took an outstanding catch. He then got rid of Rizwan and returned to take two wickets in three balls in his last over, to pick up a five-for. Khushdil Shah and Mohammad Nawaz were both unable to deal with the yorker, with Shah slicing an edge to Klaasen and Nawaz was castled.
Taking on the spin
After a tentative and confused approach to spin in the first match, South Africa were much more aggressive and confident in this game. Hendricks and van Biljon scored 31 runs off 17 balls from Usman Qadir and 20 runs off 19 balls from Nawaz to break the back of the chase.
Hendricks got the ball rolling when he made room to hit Nawaz’s first ball for six over long-on, immediately after Shaheen Shah Afridi delivered a wicket-maiden, and then showed no fear against Qadir. Hendricks dispatched a full toss for six before van Biljon sent him over long-on to take 13 runs off Qadir’s first over. Hendricks also picked the googly, and hit it for six, but two balls later Qadir had van Biljon stumped, charging down the track, except that he had overstepped.
The Pakistan spinners got the last laugh when Qadir had Hendricks caught at mid-on to break the stand and in the next over, Nawaz drew a leading edge from van Biljon and completed the catch in his followthrough. Qadir found significant turn in his final over but South Africa had done enough to ease their way to a win.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent
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