Proteas

Record-breaking Dwaine leads the way as Proteas square T20 series

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Dwaine Pretorius was South Africa's hero. (Photo by Arif Ali / AFP)
Dwaine Pretorius was South Africa's hero. (Photo by Arif Ali / AFP)

The fighting spirit an inexperienced Proteas combination showed in the opening T20 against Pakistan blossomed into something more tangible as they won the second match of the three-match series by six wickets in Lahore on Saturday.

The victory ties the battle at one-all with the decider being played on Sunday.

Dwaine Pretorius was South Africa's hero, fully justifying Heinrich Klaasen's decision to bowl first with a magnificent spell of 5/17 in his four-over quota.

SCORECARD | Pakistan v South Africa

In the process, the 31-year-old all-rounder claimed his side's best figures ever in the format, bettering Ryan McLaren's 5/19 against the West Indies back in 2010.

It was also the first time that a bowler had scalped five Pakistani batsmen in T20s.

Pretorius set the tone early when he had Babar Azam, the home side's captain and talisman, plumb in front a fine delivery off a shorter length that came back in sharply.

That put Pakistan on the back foot immediately, who once again had to rely on Mohammad Rizwan, their batting mainstay in the first match, to keep the score ticking along.

He would've been frustrated seeing two of his partners, Haider Ali and Hussain Talat, both succumbing to tame dismissals.

Haider had picked up a juicy Andile Phehlukwayo delivery on leg-stump, but his flick found Lutho Sipamla at deep square, the young seamer taking an excellent catch.

Talat's reverse sweep to backward point off a grateful Tabraiz Shamsi was another typical example of Pakistani capriciousness.

While Rizwan struck six fours and a six in his 41-ball 54 to become the first local batsman to make three consecutive T20 fifties, he was bogged down by partners who simply couldn't rotate the strike as South Africa bowled with intelligence and fielded well.

Shamsi was once again outstanding with his leg-spinners, finishing with 1/16 in his four overs and laying a sound platform for Pretorius to wreak havoc from.

He had Rizwan and Iftikhar Ahmed (20) caught at long-off and long-on respectively with shrewd slower balls, before focusing on yorkers of varying lines to dismiss Khushdil Shah (15) and Mohammad Nawaz.

It was no less than Pretorius' efforts deserved.

Had it not been for Faheem Ashraf's late show - an unbeaten, 12-ball 30 - Pakistan's total of 144/7 would've been significantly less.

Shaheen Shah Afridi's two early wickets would've had Proteas supporters jittery over whether Pretorius' efforts would be in vain, but Reeza Hendricks and Pite van Biljon made sure of victory with an attacking third-wicket partnership of 77.

Hendricks, who took just 30 deliveries for his 42, took the lead in targeting leggie Usman Qadir - South Africa's nemesis in the previous game - and influenced his partner positively.

Van Biljon did ride his luck, notably being stumped off a no-ball, but the Knights captain backed himself and hit some meaty blows in his 42 off 32.

David Miller (25*) and Klaasen (19*) then made things look easy as South Africa strolled raced past the target. 

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