Pakistan 192/4 (Misbah ul-Haq 57*, Shoaib Malik 35*, Younus Khan 32, Peterson 2/52, Steyn 1/29) beat South Africa 191 all out (Behardien 58, Peterson 44, Mohammad Irfan 4/33, Saeed Ajmal 2/23, Junaid Khan 2/29) by six wickets
Misbah-ul-Haq’s calmness ensured that Pakistan did not let their bowler’s good work go to waste as they hauled down South Africa’s inadequate total methodically.
At best the going was slow, but the run rate never dipped. The Pakistan of old would have been frazzled by the modest chase, but not this team.
Along with Shoaib Malik, who only has good memories of the Pretoria ground, they shut out the hosts. It was a comprehensive win and continued their luck of winning the second ODI in a bilateral series in South Africa.
There were brain fades, such as Nasir Jamshed’s dismissal along with that of Younus Khan. One big score allied with two smaller ones would always bring a win. On a good batting track, 191 was never going to be enough. Pakistan’s senior men were always going to deliver.
When they wanted to, Pakistan batted attractively and aggressively. Mohammad Hafeez was cast under a fiery spell by Dale Steyn in the test series.
Steyn tested him with short balls and verbals but the ODI Hafeez is much more confident and assured. He fell to Steyn, chipping tamely to mid-off, but not before he struck three sumptuous boundaries and an uppercut six.
Kamran Akmal also had a nonsensical dismissal, his waft missing the ball, which hit his pads and dribbled onto his stumps off Robin Peterson. Those were the only shining lights in an otherwise disappointing performance from the home team.
South Africa’s eventual total was strengthened by excellent lower order contributions from Behardien and Peterson.
They promised so much and delivered on Sunday and on Friday, it seemed like they were still living on the hype.
Only Colin Ingram, who received a brute of a first ball from Mohammad Irfan, could consider himself unlucky. The rest were guilty of what could only be termed as ugly and irresponsible play.
Hashim Amla chased at one that was too wide for his long arms to reach, stalling the early momentum. The very next ball Ingram followed and 26/2 became 35/3 when AB de Villiers’ indecisiveness in whether to play or leave saw him guiding Irfan to Younus Khan at second slip.
Graeme Smith is adept at playing the short ball but like the sweep, it has been one of his downfalls. His dismissal, which left the Proteas tottering at 43/4, was costly as the hosts were scoring runs even though wickets were tumbling.
Faf du Plessis’ exit at 62/5 woke South Africa up to the gravity of the situation.
It gifted Behardien an opportunity to showcase his salvage skills and his 61-ball 50 was well constructed.
His partnerships with McLaren and Peterson ensured the Pakistan would at least chase under lights. His dismissal just before the two hours and 40 minutes rain delay knocked the stuffing out of South Africa’s effort.
Its futility was encompassed by Steyn’s 16-ball duck to maximise South Africa’s Duckworth/Lewis chances. Like his score, it amounted to nothing.