South Africa crushed Pakistan in the second T20I at the Wanderers on Monday (April 12) to level the four-match series. Having lost a closely-fought encounter two days ago, a determined South Africa came back strong despite having a depleted squad to pick up the six-wicket win. On a placid wicket, Pakistan unfortunately made only 140, which was chased down with ease.
Pakistan pretty much self-destructed after opting to bat. Mohammad Rizwan didn’t want to give himself any sighter and took on George Linde straightaway. Unfortunately, the in-form batsman miscued his shot to fall for a first-ball duck. Sharjeel Khan, who had replaced the injured Fakhar Zaman, smashed a six in the same over, but he too perished in the same manner in Linde’s following over. Veteran Mohammad Hafeez used his experience to good effect to resurrect the innings and was involved in a half-century stand but Pakistan needed a massive push in the second half of the innings.
Did they get that push?
No, they didn’t. Babar looked scratchy and couldn’t get his timing right and the fluent Hafeez was stopped just when he started looking dangerous. Linde came back to prize out the experienced campaigner as Hafeez tried to cut with little room, only to edge it to the keeper. Sisanda Magala then bowled a nightmarish opening over consisting of wides and no-balls to inject some momentum into the Pakistan innings as they reached 90 by the end of the 12th over.
Only 50 runs in the last 8 overs?
Wickets started falling in heaps. Tabraiz Shamsi bowled a wrong-un to force Haider Ali to mistime one and Babar was continuing to struggle at the other end. Lizaad Williams then removed the star of the first game, Faheem Ashraf at a crucial juncture. And in the same over, Hasan Ali fell after briefly threatening with back-to-back sixes. Babar’s scratchy innings finally came to an end when Magala made amends by castling the Pakistan skipper for a 50-ball 50. Eventually, the visitors finished with 140/9 – a total that definitely appeared to be short on a good surface.
Markram tees off
The two sides made contrasting starts with the bat in the powerplay. South Africa decided to make good use of the fielding restrictions with Aiden Markram taking the lead role. After smashing Mohammad Nawaz for a boundary and a six in the second over, Markram also fetched three boundaries in Mohammad Hasnain’s opening over. At the other end, Janneman Malan smashed Shaheen Afridi for a biggie over deep midwicket as the hosts raced to 38 off just four overs. Even though Malan fell in the following over, South Africa still had a positive finish to the powerplay with Wihan Lubbe adding three more boundaries before departing.
Klaasen takes over
Markram never intended to slow down despite South Africa fetching 58 in the powerplay as he continued his boundary spree to bring up his half-century off just 28 balls but Usman Qadir had the last laugh dismissing the opener. Pakistan’s only way back into the contest was to pick up wickets at regular intervals and Qadir did strike again in his following over to cause some mild panic in that South African camp. However, the stand-in South African skipper Heinrich Klaasen took over proceedings to ease the nerves. Klaasen was aggressive in his approach and Pakistan found no answers to his counter-attacking approach. Three fours off a Faheem Ashraf over brought the target below 30 as Klaasen and Linde hit a six each off Shaheen in the 14th over to polish off the chase.
What next for these two sides?
This impressive victory will definitely boost South Africa. Having lost the ODI series, the hosts would be desperate to at least come out on top in the shortest format. But the task was never going to be easy with their top stars departing for IPL duties. Pakistan on the other hand, will be looking to bounce back strong when the two sides move to Centurion in two days time.
Pakistan 140/9 in 20 overs (Babar Azam 50; George Linde 3-23, Lizaad Williams 3-35) lost to South Africa 141/4 in 14 overs (Aiden Markram 54, Heinrich Klaasen 36*; Usman Qadir 2-26) by six wickets