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Proteas limp across finish line amid Fakhar Zaman’s fireworks to level series

Proteas limp across finish line amid Fakhar Zaman’s fireworks to level series
April 5, 2021

CENTURION (92 News) - South Africa held their nerves in a pressure game as they defeated Pakistan by 17 runs to level the series 1-1 despite a herculean effort of 193 from Fakhar Zaman, who stretched the match till the last over.

South Africa posted a daunting total of 341/6 after being put in to bat, thanks to half-centuries by Quinton de Kock (80), Temba Bevuma (92), Rassie van der Dussen (60), and David Miller (50*). Then early blows from Anrich Nortje and Lungi Ngidi put the hosts in a commanding position, notwithstanding Fakhar Zaman’s solitary retaliation.

South Africa got off to a steady start despite the new ball making the openers dance. Aiden Markram and Quinton de Kock put up an opening partnership of 55 runs, with Markram (39) finding a rhythm and doing the majority of the damage. He sent the ball into the stands as he played a lofted drive for a six in the 10th over but got caught on the very next ball off Faheem Ashraf.

Temba Bavuma then joined de Kock at the crease. Bavuma was chocked with dot balls but didn’t give in to the Pakistan pace attack even when Babar kept the fielders up in the 30-yard circle to keep the pressure up.

de Kock chopped one on the stumps after a sublime inning of 80 off 86 balls that was studded with 10 fours and a six becoming Haris Rauf’s first victim —breaking the second-wicket partnership of 114 runs between the two that laid down a strong foundation for the Proteas to aim for a 300+ total.

Bavuma rose to the occasion with well-paced innings of 92 runs in 100 balls after finding himself stumbling in the beginning with just seven runs in his first 21 balls.

Van der dussen followed his centurion performance with another half-century in this match. Dussen started his innings directly in the fifth gear — 60 in 37 balls laced with six fours and four sixes. Bavuma and van der Dusssen added 101 runs for the third-wicket before the latter was dismissed by Mohammad Hasnain (1/74).

Subsequently, Bavuma was sent back to the dressing room in the nineties by Haris Rauf (3/54) after getting caught at mid-wicket by Babar Azam.

A vintage David Miller came in blazing with a fiery knock of 50* in just 27 balls to finish the South African innings on 341/6, taking 19 runs off Shaheen Afridi in the final over.

Pakistan commenced their chase stuttering with Imam-ul-Haq (5) back in the pavilion to Lungi Ngidi (1/66) in the second over. Babar joined forces with Fakhar Zaman to set a foundation for the chase. The two added 63 runs for the second wicket but Anrich Nortje (3/63) snared the wickets of Babar (31), Mohammad Rizwan (0), and Danish Aziz (9), reducing the visitors to 85/4.

Being forced into rebuilding, Fakhar found himself alone, losing partners consistently at the other end. The lower middle-order consisting of Shadab Khan (13), Asif Ali (19), and Faheem Ashraf (11) couldn’t hold the port from their side for long, increasing the pressure on Fakhar to stand vehemently at the crease.

Fakhar fuelled the fires of hope in the Pakistan camp to almost bring the visitors home but his gruelling knock 193 off 155 deliveries came to an anti-climatic end with a run-out from Aiden Markram.

South Africa eventually won by 17 runs, squaring the series 1-1.

Fakhar was awarded the Player of the Match for his spectacular knock that was studded with 18 fours and 10 sixes and is now the highest individual score at the Wanderers.

The final match of the series will be played on 7 April, Wednesday.