Fakhar Zaman scored the highest score in ODI history for a chasing side, but Pakistan were unable to overcome the Proteas in the second match of their series at the Wanderers.
JOHANNESBURG – Fakhar Zaman nearly pulled off an Easter miracle on Sunday.
Pakistan at one point didn’t look like they would get to 300, nevermind within 17 runs of the target set for them by the Proteas.
However the left-hand opener, having survived another brutal spell from Anrich Nortjé in which the South African quick picked up three wickets, seemingly turning the tide of the match, set about punishing the home team’s bowlers in a superb display of concentration and courage.
Nortjé claimed the wickets of Babar Azam and Mohammed Rizwan in his first over and then Danish Aziz in his third, as Pakistan slumped to 85/4 in the 15th over.
Fakhar had struggled against the pace initially, but then, as if he had nothing to lose, he cut loose in the 28th over, taking 12 runs off Kagiso Rabada, followed by 16 off Tabraiz Shamsi in the next over.
Those two overs changed the momentum of the innings. Fakhar grew more confident and South Africa got frantic. Fakhar, having grown comfortable with the short ball, pulled brilliantly, he drove with authority when it was pitched up and against Shamsi he made excellent use of a powerful slog sweep, to propel the ball over the boundary.
He farmed the strike effectively with tailenders too – a partnership of 68 runs for the eighth wicket with Shaheen Afridi, saw Pakistan’s no.9 score just five runs, while Haris Rauf, made just one in a stand of 39 for the ninth wicket.
Fakhar’s 193, was the highest score against South Africa in an ODI in this country, and was also eclipsed, Herschelle Gibbs’ 175 against Australia in the ‘438 game’ as the highest individual score in an ODI at the Wanderers. He took just 155 balls, hitting 18 fours and 10 sixes.
With South Africa growing nervous towards the end, a crafty bit of sportsmanship by Quinton de Kock, led to Fakhar’s run out. Aiden Markram produced a direct hit from the cover boundary, but De Kock had motioned that the ball was going to the non-striker’s end, causing Fakhar to virtually stop running, only to watch as the ball crashed into his stumps.
It was a tragically comical end to one of the great One-Day innings seen in South Africa, but it was a knock neither he nor his teammates or those in the opposition will soon forget.
Markram’s effort was the highlight of another inconsistent display in the field from the Proteas, and it will be of huge concern to the management and skipper Temba Bavuma, that the side’s standard’s have dropped so alarmingly in that department this season.
Babar Azam was missed when he had 13, and Bavuma also dropped Fakhar late in the game. The ground fielding was certainly not of the standard the players would demand of themselves.
One area that did work well for the Proteas was their batting. On Sunday, unlike in Friday’s first match, the top order in the form of Bavuma and De Kock fought brilliantly on what was a difficult surface, to give the home side base from which the middle order could attack in the final 15 overs.
The hosts paced their innings well. Markram blazed away at the start, making 39, that contained some spectacular strokeplay, but ended with a horrible miscued backfoot drive to cover.
De Kock, struggled with the pace of pitch throughout his innings, and had to fight for most of the 132 minutes he spent at the crease. Given it’s not his natural way, it’s a credit to De Kock, who’s had a difficult season, that he was able to play his part in providing the Proteas with a foundation.
He made 80 off 86 balls and shared a stand of 114 for the second wicket with Bavuma, who made a very clever and hardworking 92, in which he ran well between the wickets.
As a result of that stand, Rassie van der Dussen (60 off 37 balls) and David Miller (50 not out off 27 balls) were able to push South Africa’s total comfortably passed 300.
The last 15 overs saw the Proteas score 145 runs, and the rhythm of the innings is the blueprint they will want to use in the limited overs format henceforth.
With the series tied at 1-1, the decider will be played at SuperSport Park on Wednesday
South Africa 341/6 in 50 overs (Q. de Kock 80, T. Bavuma 92, H. van der Dussen 60, D. Miller 50 not out; Haris Rauf 3-54)
Pakistan 324/9 in 50 overs (Fakhar Zaman 193; A. Nortjé 3-63)
Result: South Africa won by 17 runs
Series: The three-match series is level at 1-1