45 overs Pakistan 262 (Shehzad 102, Steyn 6-39) v South Africa
Live scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Ahmed Shehzad’s third ODI century and the 124-run stand he had with Sohaib Maqsood for the third wicket set Pakistan up to challenge for their first ever bilateral series win over South Africa. Umar Akmal, who was involved in Shehzad being run out, provided the late flourish, as Pakistan scored 82 in the final ten overs of a shortened game, despite Dale Steyn taking career-best figures.
After choosing to field, AB de Villiers will be disappointed with the efforts of his bowlers bar Steyn, who punctured Pakistan’s innings regularly to finish with 6 for 39. The attack, reinforced by the inclusion of Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Ryan McLaren in place of Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel, struggled to find its lines despite helpful conditions. There was nothing on offer for the spinners, though, which may be a concern for Pakistan.
The innings had begun like those in recent ODIs as Steyn took care of the early Pakistan wickets. He bowled Nasir Jamshed, who played around a full ball, and had Mohammad Hafeez caught behind. Steyn’s record against Hafeez ballooned to 15 dismissals in 23 matches across formats.
Pakistan had it easier at the other end where Tsotsobe, back in the side after recovering from illness, sprayed outside off stump and tried the bouncer with little effect. Shehzad’s impressive back-foot technique was on display as he unfurled the pull shot.
Shehzad gave himself time to settle and did not get frustrated when McLaren, Jacques Kallis and Imran Tahir bowled tight opening overs, knowing that his partner Sohaib Maqsood had the temperament to weather the quiet as well. The shackles broke when Maqsood bottom-edged McLaren twice in successive balls to third-man boundary, and then he and Shehzad were willing to collect singles again.
Neither batsmen went out of their way to hit boundaries, they came when there was opportunity – when fine leg was up for Shehzad to sweep Tahir, when Kallis strayed down the leg-side, or went too full. The second time Kallis overpitched, Shehzad tried to clip through midwicket but got an outside edge – his first streaky shot and one that brought up his half-century.
De Villiers brought on JP Duminy to try and make something happen but the offspinner offered generous flight and width and posed no threat to Pakistan’s well-set men. They had so entrenched themselves that Shehzad was visibly irritated when Masood threw his wicket away as he approached a half-century. McLaren was brought back after a fairly innocuous opening spell and started his second with a full delivery that Masood could have driven on the ground. Instead, he tried to go over extra cover and offered Hashim Amla a simple catch.
Misbah-ul-Haq arrived with Pakistan in a good position for once, and was at the other end when Shehzad entered the 90s with six off McLaren and brought up his century with a single off Tahir. Two balls later the captain was caught trying to glance Tahir down leg side. It was now up to Shehzad to ensure Pakistan finished strong.
He could not because Akmal was ball-watching when Shehzad called him through for a tight run and by the time Shehzad turned back, it was too late. Pakistan were 180 for 5 with 10 overs left and responsibility was immediately transferred to Akmal.
Akmal took on McLaren and Steyn with extravagant shots: the up-and-over third man and the classy drive. Shahid Afridi did not contribute meaningfully with the bat again but put on 34 with Akmal before being caught at slip.
Bilwal Bhatti provided the lower-order support. He took three boundaries off Steyn before edging behind. Akmal was left to collect as much as he could in the last two overs and had Anwar Ali for company. Kallis’ last over cost 15 runs but Steyn’s was less satisfactory to Pakistan. Anwar was given out obstructing the field, Akmal was caught behind and did not survive on review and Saeed Ajmal flayed to third man to give Steyn his sixth wicket.