Explosive Pakistan level series

At the last match at Centurion, it was South Africa who compiled a monumental total and Pakistan who never got close to chasing it. Today, the roles were almost completely reversed as Pakistan were the victors by 141 runs.

Batting first, Pakistan were assertive from the start. Imran Nazir, in for Mohammad Hafeez, celebrated his recall with 53 from 39 balls. South Africa had snared an early scalp, Kamran Akmal, but Younis Khan was playing fluently with Nazir. Once Nazir had been trapped lbw by Langeveldt’s slower ball, Mohammad Yousuf joined Younis at the crease.

As they have done so often in the last year, the prolific pairing chalked up yet more runs. A partnership of 124 came at a good pace. Both nudged for singles, but found gaps regularly, keeping the run rate at around 6 an over. With Younis approaching a century, it was Graeme Smith who broke the partnership with his off-spin.

Inzamam came and went another run out brining his downfall. The stage was now set for Afridi, and he did not disappoint. He took just five balls to hit his first maximum, and followed it up with five more. The ball was battered to all parts of the ground, and almost out of it on one occasion.

He reached fifty off just 20 balls, feasting on back of a length bowling from the South African quicks, particularly Andre Nel. There was even Afridi’s more cheeky side on show, he outlandishly swept Makhaya Ntini and dispatched a full toss on one leg, Pietersen-style through mid wicket.

Yousuf at the other end meanwhile, reached his ton in the final over. He had understandably given Afridi most of the strike, but had increased the tempo himself; he contributed 49 to their partnership of 129 off just under 12 overs. Afridi finished on a 35-ball 77, while Pakistan totalled 351-4.

South Africa began their near-impossible chase positively. AB De Villiers and Graeme Smith both found early boundaries off the wayward bowling off Rana Naved. His opening partner; Mohammad Asif, was much more impressive. He bowled ten overs off the reel, picking up two wickets at a cost of 29. He showed signs of tiring towards the end of the spell, but still managed to pick up the crucial wicket of Herschelle Gibbs, to add t his earlier scalp, Smith.

Abdul Razzaq was on hand as well, with a pair of expensive, but vital wickets. His seven overs cost 59, but brought the wickets of Kallis and De Villiers, and after they had gone there was no hope left for the home side.

There was a brief delay due to floodlight failure, but once power had been restored Pakistan got on with finishing the match. The spin duo of Shoaib Malik and Shahid Afridi shared the last five wickets between them, wrapping up the match for Pakistan. There were some lusty hits down the order from Shaun Pollock, but any hope was long gone, as South Africa subsided for 210.

Pakistan 351-4
Mohammad Yousuf 101*, Younis Khan 93, Shahid Afridi 77*

South Africa 210 all out
AB De Villiers 43
Shahid Afridi 3-25, Shoaib Malik 2-27, Mohammad Asif 2-29

Pakistan win by 141 runs

Cricket Web Man of the Match : Mohammad Yousuf

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