Brief Score: Pakistan 317-6 in 50 overs (Imam-ul-Haq 101, Babar Azam 69, Mohammad Hafeez 52) v South Africa 187-2 in 33 overs (R. Hendricks 83 not out).
The weather and South Africa’s perfectly timed aggressive streak earned them a 13-run win through the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern (DLS) method in the third ODI.
With Pakistan having scored 317/6 in their 50 overs on the back of Imam-ul-Haq’s fifth ODI ton, South Africa needed to pull off the second highest successful chase at the ground to take a 2-1 lead.
Pakistan won the toss and opted to bat first, but it would be the Proteas to strike the first blow, as debutant Beuran Hendricks forced the top edge off Zaman for two.
A 132-run stand then followed as Babar Azam and Imam took control. Just as Azam was looking to step it up a notch, he was trapped lbw by the returning Dale Steyn for 69.
The partnerships continued to come for Pakistan, as Imam and 38-year-old Mohammad Hafeez put together 84 before Andile Phehlukwayo caught a blinder at mid-on to remove him for 54, this after the allrounder dropped a simple chance when Azam was on four.
Imam then brought up his 5th ODI century, but departed soon after for 101, allowing the big hitters to do the job at the tail-end of the innings. The experienced Shoaib Malik and Imad Wasim struck 31 and 43 respectively to get their side to 317-6.
Imam-ul-Haq, despite being dropped twice, led from the front with his 101. In the process he became the second-fastest batsman to 1000 ODI runs in history, taking just 19 innings to achieve the feat. Only his opening partner, Fakhar Zaman (17), has a better record.
Clever batting from Reeza Hendricks and Faf du Plessis handed the Proteas a 13-run D/L method win in the rain-affected match at Centurion on Friday.
After 33 overs, South Africa needed to be on 174 having lost two wickets. Reeza Hendricks (83*) and Faf du Plessis (40*) took advantage of the altered conditions after the first rain break to nudge ahead decisively.
South Africa were 187/2 in the 33rd over when a consistent rain shower from 8.24pm onwards forced the game’s abandonment.
They did well to win, especially after their indifferent start to the tall chase. South Africa lost two early wickets before the first rain break when Hashim Amla (25) clipped Shadab Khan to Babar Azam at short mid-wicket.
Quinton de Kock had a lot more urgency and fluency but he was well run out by Khan, who swooped in from cover and nailed a direct hit that caught De Kock short at the non-strikers end.
That left South Africa 79/2 in the 15th over, 18 runs adrift of the DLS par score of 97 for the same stage. When the weather closed in at the end of the 17th over, South Africa were 88/2, 15 runs off the pace.
Clearly understanding that more inclement weather was on the way, Reeza Hendricks and Du Plessis batted with a real sense of purpose after the enforced hour break.
They added 99 runs from the 17th to the 33rd over, moving past the DLS par score. Their 100-run partnership came off only 96 balls as the slick field made gripping the ball difficult.
Their unbeaten 107-run alliance was stalled by the rain but they were four runs ahead of the DLS par score.
Pakistan beat South Africa in the first ODI at St George’s Park as Imam-ul-Haq and Mohammad Hafeez set up a five-wicket win, but South Africa bounced back in the next ODI in Durban with Hendrick ‘Rassie’ van der Dussen and Andile Phehlukwayo securing a series-levelling win at Kingsmead.