De Villiers spurs Proteas to series victory

Spearheaded by their captain AB de Villiers, South Africa cruised to a six-wicket victory in the final Momentum One Day international against Pakistan at Willowmoore Park, in Benoni, today.

Failing only once with the bat, De Villiers was the leading run-scorer in the series with 365 runs and played a dominant role in ensuring the Proteas cemented the five-match series 3-2.

Set a target of 206 and chasing for the first time in the series, the hosts started tentatively as Mohammad Irfan and Junaid Khan both bowled beautifully first up.

There was disappointment for the youngster Quinton de Kock, standing in for the injured Graeme Smith, when he chopped on a delivery from Junaid after scoring just three runs.

After Colin Ingram (15) had his off-stump knocked over by Mohammad Hafeez, De Villiers joined Hashim Amla and the pair added 49 runs for the third wicket.

Amla (22) attempted to pull a short delivery from Irfan and instead got a top edge which went straight up in the air and Shoaib Malik ran in for the catch.

De Villiers was fortunate to survive an early chance, when he was dropped by Younus Khan.

The skipper got a thick outside edge to Junaid, offering a simple slip catch but Younus fumbled it and put it down.

At the end of the innings, De Villiers was unbeaten on 95 and shared an 87-run fourth-wicket partnership with Farhaan Behardien.

For his efforts, Irfan bagged two wickets for 38 runs off his 10 overs, after Behardien (35) was caught at fine-leg.

De Villiers and David Miller, not out on 20, took the team over the line, notching up 208 runs for the loss of four wickets, with six overs to spare.

Winning the toss and opting to bat first, Pakistan were all out for 205 as, yet again, the first ten overs of the day proved damaging for the batting side.

Hafeez (5) was the first to go, getting an edge to Dale Steyn, taken by Ingram at second slip.

Lonwabo Tsotsobe removed the other opener with a lengthy delivery which Imran Farhat tried to punch through cover but, instead, got an edge and was caught behind after scoring 13 runs.

Kamran Akmal and Younus formed the only substantial partnership of the innings, adding 66 runs for the third wicket.

Their stand was broken by an outstanding catch taken by Ryan McLaren, at backward square-leg, to end Kamran Akmal’s innings.

He was two runs short of his half-century and was caught trying to sweep a delivery from Robin Peterson.

Part-time bowler Behardien took the crucial wicket of Younus, who had laboured to 29 off 58 balls.

Amla timed his jump perfectly, at midwicket, to pluck the ball out of the air.

And then McLaren struck twice in one over to see off the two big hitters Malik (28) and Shahid Afridi, who only faced three balls for his duck.

McLaren was the pick of the bowlers, taking a third wicket for his 32 runs.

He got the scalp of captain Misbah-ul-Huq, who also struggled to his 24 runs, off 46 deliveries.

Morne Morkel, playing in his first match of the ODI series after suffering a hamstring injury, chipped in with two wickets at the end, for 33 runs, to finish off the innings.

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