David Miller put in a stellar fielding performance to help the Proteas seal a narrow six-run victory over Pakistan in the first KFC T20 international at PPC Newlands in Cape Town on Friday.
South Africa won the first Twenty20 international against Pakistan by six runs after a thrilling contest at Newlands on Friday.
Man of the Match Miller claimed four catches and effected two run outs with direct throws to thwart the Pakistan charge for victory, with the visitors ending on 186 for nine after the Proteas had posted 192 for six in their allotted 20 overs.
Pakistan were chasing a target of 193, but managed 186 runs by the end of 20 overs, at a loss of nine wickets.
Hussain Talat remained the top-scorer for Pakistan with 40 runs, while Babar Azam and captain Shoaib Malik contributed with 38 and 39 runs, respectively.
Beuran Hendricks (4-0-40-2) had claimed the wicket of Fakhar Zaman (4) off the third ball of the innings but then Babar Azam (38) and Hussain Talat (40) took the game to the home side.
Babar and Hussain smashed 81 runs for the second wicket off 61 balls before Tabraiz Shamsi (4-0-33-2) had Hussain caught on the boundary by Chris Morris. Then it was ‘Miller-time” as Babar set off for a single, only for Miller to throw down the stumps at the non-strikers end with Babar short of his ground.
Shoaib Malik (49) and Asif Ali (13) added 20 runs off 13 balls for the fourth wicket but then enter Miller again, who took a good catch off Morris (4-0-39-2) to see the end of Ali. Miller and Shamsi then combined again as Imad Wasim fell for just four.
Pakistan had initially fought back after Faf du Plessis and Reeza Hendricks shared a record partnership.
South Africa made 192 for six after being sent in. It was the highest total in a T20 international at Newlands but it seemed likely to be much higher when Du Plessis and Hendricks were plundering the bowlers in a second-wicket stand of 131 off 74 balls.
Du Plessis made 78 off 45 balls and Hendricks hit 74 off 41 deliveries.
But Du Plessis’s dismissal in the 16th over sparked a mini-collapse and South Africa lost five wickets while scoring only 35 runs in the last 28 balls of the innings.
Left-arm fast bowler Usman Shinwari dismissed Du Plessis and Rassie van der Dussen in the same over and finished with three for 31.
Hendricks, who hit eight fours and two sixes, said South Africa had been on track to score around 220. “We lost our way a bit,” he said.
Du Plessis was in imperious form, striking six fours and four sixes before driving Shinwari to Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik at mid-off. Van der Dussen was caught behind without scoring by a diving wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan two balls later.
Skipper Malik had earlier said he did not expect the pitch to change much. “It is more of a tactical decision” to bowl first, he said.
The same pitch was used for the final one-day international between the two countries on Wednesday as well as a women’s international earlier on Friday.
Malik said Pakistan were keen to build on an outstanding 2018 when Pakistan won 17 out of 19 Twenty20 internationals. “It is more or less the same squad except our captain (suspended Sarfraz Ahmed) is not here,” he said.
Du Plessis said he also would have bowled if he had won the toss.
The South African team included only four of the players who clinched the one-day series at Newlands on Wednesday.
“It is exciting to give some new guys opportunities,” said Du Plessis.