Shadab Khan impressed with bat and ball as Pakistan won by 27 runs at Centurion on Wednesday night, for the Proteas to win the series 2-1.
It might not have been the performance they were hoping for, but the Proteas can leave this series with their heads held high, after beating the world No 1 side with what was largely a makeshift side.
It was certainly one for David Miller to remember. After becoming the first man in T20 international history to win Man of the Match for his fielding performance in the first match, Miller, who captained the last two matches, backed that up with the bat in the second encounter.
Pakistan skipper Shoaib Malik lost the toss but admitted he was happy to bat first, and at first it showed as Babar Azam got off to a rollicking start.
The world’s No 1 T20 batsman Babar smashed Junior Dala for three boundaries as they raced to 18-0 off the first two overs. But his momentum got the better of him as he chipped one to cover to fall for an 11-ball 23.
Lutho Sipamla bowled superbly in the first match, but he failed to find his line in the first over as Fakhar Zaman took a liking and hit 17 off him. Zaman would eventually fall for Hendricks’ first wicket, but Pakistan found some more stability through Shoaib and Mohammad Rizwan.
There were some handy contributions from Imad Wasim (19) and Asif Ali (25), but Hendricks then blew the lower order away with three wickets in the space of four balls, to eventually finish with career-best figures of 4-14.
Shadab Khan however had other ideas, and in hindsight it might well have been his knock that separated the sides. He smashed three sixes off the final Andile Phehlukwayo (1-41) over to drag his side to 168-9.
After the match Pakistani Skipper Sarfraz Ahmed tweets for Pakistan Cricket Team and hailed Shadab Khan’s performance.
Earlier, Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ehsan Mani on Tuesday confirmed Sarfraz Ahmed will continue as captain of the team till the ICC World Cup 2019, which will be held in England and Wales from May 30 to July 14.
Mani, who made the announcement during a joint press conference with Sarfraz at the PCB headquarters, threw his unequivocal support behind the skipper saying he will captain Pakistan in the upcoming series against Australia and till the World Cup, until any further notice.
“I am happy to confirm that Sarfraz will remain Pakistan captain till the World Cup. I’ve been saying this from day one: Sarfraz is our captain and he will remain our captain until any further decision,” the PCB chairman said.
“I was keen to speak with [Sarfraz] on the team’s recent performances as part of the normal review and appraisal process, and, more importantly, about his own future plans as we all know he has undergone some tough times as a professional cricketer in the past few weeks.
“Sarfraz has reiterated his commitment to the Pakistan cricket team as well as his availability and enthusiasm to captain the team at the World Cup,” Mani said.
Recounting Sarfraz’s achievements as captain, the PCB chief said his valuable contributions to Pakistan cricket could not be undermined or overlooked.
“Sarfraz has been an integral part of the Pakistan cricket team’s World Cup preparations and has proved to be a good strategist, leader and performer.
“He led Pakistan to the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 title as well as to the top of the ICC Twenty20 International rankings. His achievements and contributions as a captain and as a valuable all-round cricketer cannot be undermined or overlooked because of the team’s recent Test results.
“I am confident he will continue the good work with Mickey Arthur and Inzamam-ul-Haq so that the team is in the best possible shape and form to produce strong performances at the World Cup,” Mani said.
Sarfraz, who was banned for four international matches by the International Cricket Council for breaching its anti-racism code during the South Africa tour, thanked the board for placing its confidence in his leadership abilities.
“I feel humbled and honoured to be placed in the same bracket as some of the most iconic and legendary cricketers who have previously captained Pakistan at World Cups. It is the dream of any international cricketer to play in a World Cup, but to be appointed captain in the biggest cricket spectacle on the planet is something that is extremely special.
“The reality is that the last few weeks have been extremely difficult for me as a person and professional. But I am delighted that the PCB has reassured its confidence and faith in me. It has boosted my confidence tremendously.
“I am convinced we are in a good shape for the World Cup. We have top quality talent and match-winners with a committed support staff in the dressing room. Everyone is geared up and keenly looking forward to returning to the country where we won the last major ICC tournament.
“In the lead up to the World Cup, Pakistan will play five ODIs each against Australia and England, which will also allow us the opportunity to further fine-tune our preparations. I am sure we’ll give a good account of ourselves at the World Cup,” Sarfraz said.