Proteas avoid a home whitewash

2013-12-01 14:00

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It took a measured and responsible innings by captain AB de Villiers to ensure that the Proteas avoid the ignominy of a home ODI series whitewash.

Pakistan’s paltry total pointed to an easy chase in the lazy Pretoria sun.

But it was anything but easy as the Proteas lost wickets at inopportune times in their innings.

At least they were able to record their first win chasing since they beat Pakistan in Benoni in March.

A good start that saw the home team motor to 34/0 after five overs was quickly undone when Quinton de Kock and debutant Henry Davids fell in quick succession.

While the 20-year-old De Kock’s adrenaline got the better of him, skying Bilawal Bhatti to Saeed Ajmal, Davids was subjected to a searching spin examination by Saeed Ajmal.

Like most of the Proteas batsmen, he failed as he walked past an arm ball that got him stumped by Umar Akmal. It was an admission that he was unable to pick the wily Ajmal.

On the eve of the game, Hashim Amla berated himself for not being able to see out the failed chase on Wednesday in Port Elizabeth and his innings yesterday had the hallmarks of the anchor that prevents flutters.

But he is not the best of callers for running between the wickets and his run-out was a result of going for a single that was not there.

His dismissal was followed by that of JP Duminy and David Miller but De Villiers’ 40-run partnership with Ryan McLaren put to rest any ideas of defeat.

After the euphoria of clinching their first-ever bilateral ODI series win against South Africa, it was understandable that Pakistan were not going to pitch up mentally.

The lack of application and intensity was evident in their batting, which saw them crumble to 97/7 in the 28th over before another Misbah-ul-Haq special helped add a veneer of respectability to their rather paltry total.

With the loss of early wickets, which saw them tottering at 48/3 after 11 overs, the number was up for them despite Misbah’s best efforts.

While the rest of his team-mates seemed like their minds were on today’s flight back home, both spiritually and physically, the evergreen Pakistan captain was still in South Africa.

He provided an excellent lesson in taking responsibility, even though he was gifted a life on 43, when JP Duminy shelled a simple chance off Wayne Parnell’s bowling at backward point.

Had that catch been taken, it would have been doubtful the visitors would have even reached 150.

It was the slice of luck he deserved, which probably was a reward for the recklessness of his other batsmen.

Except for Ahmed Shehzad, who was out to a peach of a delivery from Vernon Philander, the other Pakistani batsmen walked willingly towards the precipice and did not hesitate to jump over when required to.

But it would be malevolent not to credit the South African bowling attack, which was diligent and, to an extent, hostile when required.

Without Dale Steyn’s pace, they needed to be niggardly, but with Philander, that was always going to be the norm rather than the exception.

He was aided by Lonwabo Tsotsobe and McLaren, who ensured that the pressure from the other end was not wasted.

The latter was responsible for one of the best pieces of fielding for the day, diving to his right to execute a superb return catch to dismiss the in-form Sohaib Maqsood after the right-hander mistimed his pull shot.

It was a shot that summed up Pakistan’s innings: lazy and reckless.

Highlights and lowlights:

»?Catch of the day – Quinton de Kock pulled off a spectacular catch

to dismiss Akmal off Vernon Philander in the 24th over.

»?Shot of the day – Sohail Tanvir’s clip off his legs off Lonwabo Tsotsobe was not the sort of shot played by tailenders. It made him look very good.

»?Drop of the day – JP Duminy should have caught Misbah when the Pakistani captain was on 43. The ball was hit hard but it went straight to him. It popped in and out.

»?Delivery of the day – Tanvir’s beamer to AB de Villiers was a case of the ball slipping out instead of being bowled deliberately.

»?Misjudgement of the day – Hashim Amla called for a run that was not there and was not even in the frame when Akmal removed the bails.

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