Pink faces all round for Proteas
Record falls as Pakistan give bowling, batting lesson
All good things have to come to an end and so did SA’s proud “Pink Day” record at the hands of Pakistan’s rampant bowling attack at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Sunday.
Usman Shinwari’s four wickets in six balls not only wrecked SA’s fragile lower order, but gave Pakistan an easy eight-wicket win with 112 balls remaining.
SA were bowled out for 164 in 41 overs to lose their first “Pink Day” ODI in eight attempts.
The series is now square at two-all and it is a winner takes all contest in Cape Town on Wednesday evening.
At some point, the Proteas’ batting frailty had to be exposed.
They got out of the 80/5 jail in Durban and were smart enough to use the weather to their advantage in Centurion on Friday.
But their luck had to run out at some point.
Pakistan also put in a commanding performance in the absence of their captain Sarfraz Ahmed, who copped a fourgame ban for his racist remark to Andile Phehlukwayo in the second ODI in Durban.
Shoaib Malik, who is the only active international cricketer who played in the 1990s, led the side admirably.
The Pakistan Cricket Board was disappointed by the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) decision, but the players did not let it down.
Partnerships from Fakhar Zaman/Imam-ul-Haq (70) and Babar Azam/Imam (94) gave them the deserved win set up by their superb bowling and SA’s insipid batting.
Imam (77) scored his second 50 of the series.
It is difficult to win games when you lose three wickets in an over but when you lose eight wickets for 45 runs in 15.1 overs, that is an easy way of surrendering a proud record.
That is what happened to SA when they cascaded from 119/2 to 164.
The start itself, albeit on a difficult surface softened up by heavy rain late on Saturday, was a dodgy one.
Quinton de Kock (0) was nailed leg-before by Shaheen Afridi (2/24), while Reeza Hendricks (two) feathered Afridi to Mohammad Rizwan to leave SA tottering at 18/2 after five overs.
Hashim Amla (59) and Faf du Plessis (57) did the heavy lifting expected of them with some success against some very good bowling by the visitors.
Their running between the wickets left a lot to be desired but somehow they found ways to transfer pressure.
Their 50-run stand came in 62 balls, while the century mark was raised in 121.
Their 101-run stand was the lone feast in the batting famine.
Shadab Khan (2/42) triggered the slide when he lulled Du Plessis, whose 50 came off 73 deliveries, into a slog-sweep that Mohammad Hafeez pouched at deep square-leg.
The spinner constriction continued and four overs later Amla played around an Imad Wasim (1/36) arm ball.
A score of 130/4 did not look like a spot of bother but SA’s tail is a long one and unlike in Durban, there was enough assistance in the pitch for Pakistan to go for the kill.
And they did as David Miller (four) was pinned leg before by Mohammad Amir (1/26) two overs later, but the real damage was done by the unheralded Shinwari (4/35).
The nippy left-arm seamer killed the contest in the 38th over when he had Rassie van der Dussen (18) and Andile Phehlukwayo gifting catches to Rizwan and Babar Azam, while Dale Steyn was sandwiched in between those dismissals when Shinwari castled him.
Shinwari was correctly denied a hat-trick by Bongani Jele in the same 38th over after removing Van der Dussen and Steyn in consecutive balls, but Phehlukwayo’s exit in the first ball of the 40th over sealed the hosts’ fate.