PAK v SA 2018-19

Babar’s 90 in vain as Pakistan lose T20 series winning streak

South Africa 188 for 3 (Miller 65*, van der Dussen 45, Imad 1-9) beat Pakistan 181 for 7 (Babar 90, Talat 55, Phelukwayo 3-36) by seven runs.

South Africa. Choking. Go hand in hand, don’t they?

This time though, they have choked the opposition. Pakistan, being Pakistan, have played like Pakistan and lost like how, usually South Africa do, but then Pakistan can do anything because they are Pakistan.

A sensational 65 by David Miller and excellent South African bowling in the final two overs propelled South Africa to a 7-run series-clinching win in the second T20-International at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on Sunday.

A good start is always essential for a good result but you need a clinical finish to achieve that good result. Pakistan started well with the ball, but Miller’s assault at the death literally killed them. And then, if we say the visitors exploded with the bat in the Powerplay, they imploded towards the end, committing suicide at the death.

A 45-run stand between Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam in 24 balls set the platform for the win and then a 102-run partnership between Babar and Hussain Talat just nearly sealed the deal. NEARLY. How important is that adverb. The game is not over till it is over and today was another example of that.

When Azam got out, Pakistan needed 42 from 23 balls. 8 wickets were left in the tank. Add to it, South Africa were not bowling well at all. But then, things started to happen.

Pakistan kept losing wicket after wicket, inspite of getting a reprieve – Asif Ali being caught 3 but the delivery being deemed a no ball. Yet, the best of spells came towards the end from the Proteas – Chris Morris bowled a stunning 19th over, where he picked up 2 wickets while Andile Phehlukwayo sealed the deal in the final over with the wicket of Shoaib Malik.

This match could have been won by anyone. But in such games, the team which holds its nerves comes out trumps. Pakistan should have not have been chasing more than 170 with South Africa 126/3 after 16.1 overs.

The tourists should have won with 42 needed from 24 balls. But there lies the main difference – South Africa finished the innings nicely with the bat and finished the game exceedingly well with the ball. Majority of the bowlers got hammered but a word for the debutant Lutho Sipamla – his 4-0-23-0 along with Shamsi’s 4-0-31-0 kept Pakistan quiet for a while in the middle overs and in T20 cricket, many times, even 2-3 good overs can put some pressure.

David Miller praises his bowlers for doing incredibly well. On his own batting in the final over, Miller says that it was very enjoyable.

Since it was the last over, he says that he just tried swinging. After connecting the first 2 balls, he felt that he could get a few more. Admits that South Africa did not start too well with the ball but then came back superbly at the back end.

Praises Sipamla for doing really well on debut. On his thought process with Pakistan’s score reading 63/1 after 5 overs, David says that he felt he was the worst captain in history but then smiles and says that he just asked the bowlers to keep working on the cutters and try and execute them.

Shoaib Malik says that It was an exceptional game but is disappointed that Pakistan could not win in spite of having it on a platter.

On Babar Azam, he says that Babar is a class player, playing proper cricketing shots. Praises Hussain Talat as well and again laments that despite their heroic efforts, the rest of the team could not finish it off.

But also criticizes them a bit saying that one of the two should have finished the game off because it becomes difficult for a new batsman to face the old ball. However, he understands that T20 is a game of risks and adds that the team needs to sit in the dressing room and analyze how to finish off matches.

Praises Imad Wasim and Shaheen Afridi for bowling superbly in the Powerplay but laments again that the death overs cost them. Admits that he was wary that a big David Miller knock was always around the corner and they had different backup plans for his attack but they could not materialize.

Overall, he says that Pakistan need to plan better for the last few overs. On the third match, Malik says that every game presents itself with a new opportunity. What is gone is gone and Pakistan just need to focus on trying to win the third and final T20I, learning from what has happened in the first 2 games.

Here’s the HIGHLIGHTS of Match:

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