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Pakistan almost collapse but take series against Proteas

Pakistan almost collapsed but held on to edge South Africa by three wickets to win the four-match Twenty20 International Series 3-1 in Centurion on Friday.

Fast bowlers forged comeback to bundle out South Africa, who at one stage were going strong at 109-2 inside 13 overs, for just 144 with three balls to spare. Pakistan were cruising at 92-1 before they lost next six wickets for just 37 runs to be 129-7 with 10 balls remaining.

But Mohammad Nawaz struck two crucials sixes in the 19th and 20th over leading Pakistan to 149-7 with only one ball left. Sisanda Magala turned villain from hero in the crucial penultimate over when Pakistan needed 16 from the last 12 deliveries.

Malaga kept four consecutive dots including the second-ball dismissal of Faheem Ashraf (seven). But he bowled two consecutive no-balls with Hassan Ali picking up a single to give strike to Nawaz. Malaga’s slower length ball in the free-hit was picked up well by Nawaz as his six over square leg changed the complexion of the game.

Needing six from the last six deliveries, Lizaad Williams conceded four runs from the first four but Nawaz pulled the fifth for a six at square leg for Pakistan’s series triumph. Nawaz was unbeaten on a 21-ball 25.

After losing Mohammad Rizwan in the second ball, Fakhar Zaman and skipper Babar Azam (24) added 91 runs for the second wicket suggesting it was going to be cake walk for the visitors.

Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam added 91 runs before Pakistan were forced to struggle. PHOTO: ICC

But Williams dismissed both set batsmen in a single over to see Pakistan struggle. Fakhar hit five fours and four sixes in his 34-ball 60.

Earlier, South Africa lost Aiden Markram (11) early in the game before Janneman Malan and Rassie van der Dussen added 56 runs. Van der Dussen and Heinrich Klassen (nine) to collect 36 runs but from there on the Proteas collapsed.

Man-of-the-match Faheem Ashraf bowled miserly to take 3-17 compensating the damage done to Hassan Ali who also took three wickets but was clubbed for 40 runs. Haris Rauf also took 2-18 from 3.3 overs.

Van der Dussen made a 36-ball 52 with five fours and two sixes. Malan chipped in 33 off 28 with three fours and one maximum.

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