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|Rassie van der Dussen||41||35||2||2||117.14|
Pakistan had a terrific year with a long string of T20I wins to their name, but 2019 haven't really started on a happy note for them. They've conceded two super-closely fought matches with both of those being nail-biting. Given the way the first T20s have panned out, the anticipation for the third game is already high. The teams will move to Centurion to lock horns for the third and final T20I of the series which is to be played on 6th January. Although the test series was a rather one-sided affair, things have been very different in the limited-overs leg. The 2-0 scoreline in favor of South Africa doesn't really reflect how good Pakistan have been in the T20s. The tourists will be looking to redeem some pride in the final match of the tour and we do not expect the final match to be anything less than what we have already seen in the series.
David Miller was rewarded a win on his first game as the captain of South Africa by a brilliant pull-back from their bowlers. Taking nothing away from the skipper himself who played a terrific innings, it was South Africa's death over bowling coupled with Pakistan's brain fade moments which swung the match towards the home team.
Batting first on a flat deck, South Africa got off to a pedestrian start with none of their openers scoring quickly enough. They lost Janneman Malan in the ninth over with the total score standing at 58. Rassie van der Dussen made terrific use of his form and provided impetus to an otherwise stagnating innings with 27-ball 45. However, it was the innings of David Miller that turned out to be a difference between a win and a loss as he propelled team's total of 187 which at one stage looked like more of a 160. He powered his way to 65 in just 29 deliveries and smashed Usman Shinwari for 28 in the last over.
Defending a total similar to the first one, South Africa had a stressful start to the second innings. The pair of Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam played counter-attacking cricket which shifted the pressure back on the Proteas' bowlers. They were made to bowl Tabraiz Shamsi in the powerplay which fortunately paid off for them. Shamsi and debutant Lutho Sipamla pulled things back brilliantly to set things on track as they conceded just 13 runs in the overs six, seven, and eight. Chris Morris and Andile Phelukwayo bowed a sensational last two overs as South Africa evenutally finished ahead in a see-saw encounter.
Reeza Hendricks, Janneman Malan, RVD Dussen, David Miller, Heinrich Klaasen, Andile Phehlukwayo, Chris Morris, Lutho Sipamla, B Hendricks, Junior Dala, Tabraiz Shamsi.
Pakistan are set to fly back home without a trophy, but they'll have an opportunity to finish their tour South African tour on a high. Although the first T20I went down to the wire, Pakistan were always seen chasing the game. However, it was exactly the opposite in the second match where they were ahead for the most part - a game which Pakistan should've won easily.
Babar Azam's wicket towards the beginning of the slog overs became the turning point as the new batsmen failed to strike the ball from the word go. The run chase got off to a dream start for Pakistan with Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, and Hussain Talat scoring boundaries at will. After looking well set to chase the target down with over a hundred scored at midway stage, Pakistan suffered an implosion only they could. Pakistan lost six wickets towards the business end of the match including the wicket of Azam. Hussain Talat's inability to take charge after Azam's dismissal had a big impact as none of their batsmen looked comfortable and perished in a bid to score quickly.
Earlier with the ball, Imad Wasim was the pick of the bowlers for the tourists as he not only restricted the flow of runs but also picked up an important wicket of Janneman Malan. His miserly spell of four overs wherein he gave away nine and also picked up a wicket helped Pakistan stay ahead in the game until the onset of death overs. However, the inexperience of Usman Shinwari was well utilized by David Miller as he carted him and Hasan Ali for plenty in the death overs. Ali and Shinwari conceded 111 runs in their eight overs combined without any success. It was hard to foresee such a poor display of death bowling from a team which is known to be a breeding ground for world-class quick bowlers. Pakistan have a steep climb ahead of them to improve both in the batting and bowling in the death overs and if they can do that, they'll be a force to reckon with.
Babar Azam, F Zaman, Hussain Talat, Asif Ali, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Rizwan, SI Wasim, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Amir.
We witnessed an encounter which swung to and fro between South Africa and Pakistan which was engrossing till the very last delivery of the match. If we disregard the result, the second match had almost everything a cricket fan would long for. There was cut-throat competition between ball and ball which left no room for error. T20I series between the two sides have been far well-fought as compared to the two longer formats with some exquisite individual performances coming in from both sides. Pakistan failed to execute their plans to finish at the death, in both departments, and are sure to come hard in the final encounter. South Africa, on the other hand, may have already won the series, but won't really be taking their foot off the gas pedal. South Africa are playing at home, have the momentum and a well-balanced batting lineup which makes them better placed to win the upcoming encounter and seal the series 3-0.
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