The Proteas performed well with bat and ball as they beat Pakistan comfortably in the second T20 international to level the four-match series.
JOHANNESBURG – This match was decided after its first ball.
That one ball saw Mohammad Rizwan charge down the wicket at George Linde and attempt to belt him over long off for six. Instead, having connected with the ball with the outside corner of his bat, Rizwan skied it to Aiden Markram at mid-off. Game over.
There was some criticism in the aftermath of Rizwan being arrogant, but can you blame him? His four T20 innings’ against South Africa before Monday’s match read as follows: 104*, 51, 42 and 74*. His desire to dominate was thus understandable.
But it immediately put Pakistan on the back foot. More importantly it gave the South Africans an enormous lift.
After Saturday’s series opener, the Proteas skipper, Heinrich Klaasen mentioned that his bowlers needed to stay out of Rizwan’s hitting zone – which is predominantly on the leg-side. There was no danger of that on Monday. South Africa could control the game thereafter.
The only blip came in a horrible opening over for Sisanda Magala, who lost his rhythm completely and bowled three no-balls, conceded nine runs after his first legitimate ball and completed that over having shipped 18 runs.
It would have been perfectly understandable had Klaasen looked elsewhere for some more overs – Andile Phehlukwayo didn’t bowl a ball for instance – but he stuck with Magala, and to the fast bowler’s credit, he recovered beautifully.
He claimed his first international wicket, that of Babar Azam in his third over, zipping one through the Pakistan captain’s defences after he’d made a run-a-ball 50.
Babar really couldn’t afford to accelerate, because he was attempting to hold the innings together while his teammates were being very charitable with their wickets.
George Linde benefited from that charity with three wickets, as did Lizaad Williams, while Tabraiz Shamsi kept his shoe on his foot this time, taking 1/22.
South Africa conducted the run chase in aggressive fashion. Markram made 54 off 30 balls with some exquisite shots amongst his seven fours and three sixes, the best of which was a saucy lofted drive over extra cover off Hasan Ali.
This current version of the Proteas gave themselves some heart palpitations, losing a few wickets for no good reason, but Klaasen (36*) and Linde (20*) ensured there were no further hassles.
The series is well set up, tied at 1-1 with the third match set to be played at SuperSport Park on Wednesday.
South Africa 141/4
SA won by 6 wickets