Linde, Markram step up as Proteas level T20 International series against Pakistan

George Linde performed well with the ball for the Proteas on Monday.
George Linde performed well with the ball for the Proteas on Monday.
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George Linde’s three early wickets and a rampaging half-century from Aiden Markram helped South Africa to a series-levelling six-wicket victory against Pakistan in the second T20 International at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on Monday.

Having restricted the tourists to a below-par total of just 140-9 the Proteas stormed to their target in just 14 overs with Markram smashing 54 from only 30 balls (7x4, 3x6) while Heinrich Klaasen (36*) and man-of-the-match George Linde (20* from 10 balls) finished the job after a small mid-innings wobble.

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Linde featured in the first six wickets to fall after Pakistan won the toss and chose to bat first claiming the first three with the ball to finish with 3-23 from his four overs and then took three well-judged catches in the deep, two off the bowling of Lizaad Williams who bowled superbly in the closing overs to finish with 3-35.

Linde struck with the first ball of the match when Saturday’s match-winner, Mohammad Rizwan, bizarrely danced down the wicket and launched the left arm spinner high in the air to Aiden Markram at mid on.

Sharjeel Khan (8) played a similar shot in Linde’s next over and fell to the same fielder as the tourists slipped to 10-2 before veteran Mohammad Hafeez (32) brought a measure of calm to proceedings during a third wicket partnership of 58 with captain Babar Azam.

But Linde was back in the wickets in his final over when Hafeez edged him to ‘keeper Heinrich Klaasen and fellow spinner Tabraiz Shamsi had Haider Ali (12) well caught in the deep by Linde.

Babar reached 50 from 49 balls with only five fours but was bowled by Sisanda Magala one delivery later.

It completed a wonderful comeback by the burly seamer who started with a nightmare, 12-ball first over including three no balls and three wides which cost 18. His final analysis of 4-0-32-1 became of the highlights of the innings rather than a lowlight.

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Beuran Hendricks (0-27) bowled with great control while Shamsi (4-0-22-1) overcame a couple of expensive innings to return the most economical analysis of the innings.

Janneman Malan (15) was caught at deep square leg after an opening stand of 44 which ensured their would be no early nerves during the run-chase.

Left hander Wihan Lubbe cracked three fours during his 12 from seven balls and Klaasen maintained a cracking pace smashing his 36 from only 21 deliveries with four fours and a straight six.

The third match takes place at Centurion on Wednesday.

Emerging Women’s tour cut short

Meanwhile, South Africa Emerging Women’s tour of Bangladesh has been cut short by one game after the visitors decided to leave the country on Monday before a stricter lockdown is enforced from April 14, which was their scheduled departure date.

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This means the South African team will not play their last scheduled game on Tuesday. The visitors have so far played four one-day matches against the hosts and lost all of them. Efforts were being made on Monday to put them on a flight so that they avoid getting stranded in Bangladesh.

The country’s civil aviation authority announced earlier on Sunday that international flights would be stopped for a week April 14 onward.

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