Pakistan vs South Africa 3rd ODI: Pakistan stunned by Tahir’s four-wicket haul

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Tahir’s four-for gave South Africa a 2-1 lead in the five-match series

South Africa spinner Imran Tahir absolutely ripped through Pakistan’s batting line-up with his four-wicket haul to hand the Proteas a convincing 68-run win in the third ODI in Abu Dhabi and a 2-1 lead in the series.

Tahir was well supported by the batting duo of Faf du Plessis and Jean Paul (JP) Duminy, both of whom registered brilliant half-centuries.

South Africa captain AB de Villiers won the toss and chose to bat first.

However, he would have been pondering over whether he made the right decision as opening batsman Hashim Amla, who had just returned from South Africa after witnessing the birth of his second child, was clean bowled by Mohammad Irfan for just 10 runs.

A 77-run partnership between Quinton de Kock and du Plessis soon made up for the early loss of Amla.

The partnership was ended when de Kock was stumped by wicketkeeper Umar Akmal off the bowling of Shahid Afridi for 40.

Du Plessis managed to record his seventh half-century before he too was stumped by Akmal off the bowling of Afridi.

Du Plessis’ fantastic knock of 55 came off 60 balls and included eight boundaries.

With South Africa having lost de Kock and du Plessis in quick succession, de Villiers and Duminy steadied the innings with a 70-run partnership before de Villiers was caught out off the bowling of Saeed Ajmal for 34.

David Miller and Duminy kept the runs flowing with a 61-run partnership, during which Duminy brought up his 17th half-century, before Miller was cleaned up by Ajmal for 34.

Duminy was dismissed just three balls later as he was caught out off the bowling of Sohail Tanvir for 64.

Duminy’s outstanding innings of 64 came off 88 balls and included three boundaries.

Thanks to du Plessis and Duminy, South Africa were able to reach a respectable total of 259 at the end of their 50 overs.

Irfan was the pick of the Pakistani bowlers with three wickets, while Ajmal and Afridi snapped up two wickets apiece and Tanvir chipped in with one wicket as well.

Chasing 260 to take a 2-1 lead in the series, Pakistan got off to a solid start as their opening pair of Mohammad Hafeez and Ahmed Shehzad registered a 50-run partnership before Shehzad was caught out off the bowling of Dale Steyn for 32.

Hafeez was dismissed the very next over as he was also caught out, but only off the bowling of Morne Morkel.

Hafeez’s dismissal led to Pakistan’s middle order collapsing as they simply had no answer to Tahir.

Wahab Riaz and Tavir recorded a last-gasp 61-run partnership in an attempt to help Pakistan get across the finish line, but it was not to be as they were bowled out for a dismal 191.

Riaz was caught behind for 33 to become Morkel’s second victim of the day, while Tanvir was caught out off the bowling of Ryan McLaren for 31.

Tahir was the most successful South African bowler with four wickets, while Morkel and McLaren picked up two wickets apiece and Steyn and Lonwabo Tsotsobe chipped in with one wicket each.

Ul-Haq blamed the loss on his batsmen, stating that they continuously failed to build on the encouraging starts they made.

“Again the same problem with us in the batting order and we couldn’t change a good start into a big one, we kept losing wickets,” he said. “It was an ideal start for us, but 20s and 30s are not going to win the game for us. 70s, 80s and 100s will win us the game and that’s what we are missing.

“The target was gettable as boundaries were coming freely with the new ball, it was a matter of playing 50 overs. The ball was coming nicely on the bat. Wahab and Tanvir gave some confidence to the team with the fight there and shows the batsmen that if you apply yourselves, you can sore runs. We need to score at least 250 against a team like SA to beat them.”

De Villiers was over the moon with South Africa having bounced back from their ugly loss in the second ODI in Dubai.

“Very happy with our performance, we stuck to the basics and got a few partnerships going,” he said. “Always easier to play with players like Amla and Steyn. We lost a couple of wickets at the wrong time but better performance today and our bowlers came to the party. We tried to limit the damage with bowling and fielding changes and tried to upset the rhythm which Shehzad was getting into.

“Steyn is a wonderful bowler, he’s close to perfect. He brings in intensity to the team and he ups the pace of the game. Lopsy’s second spell was unbelievable and Tahir’s breakthroughs were really crucial and Dale brings this intensity which is irreplaceable. Faf was under pressure to perform and that’s how big players perform. We want to come with the same kind of energy in the next match to win the series here itself in the next ODI.”

In a rather surprising move, du Plessis was named Man of the Match ahead of Tahir and Duminy.

“It’s been a tough time so I’m thankful to this performance, especially when the team wins,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed batting up the order and hopefully I can give some more of those at No. 3. I was under massive pressure but you have to keep trying, you can never give up. I’ve been hitting the ball well and it’s just about settling in the middle. When you get an opportunity, you cash in with a 70 or 80. I love fielding and when I always try contributing with the ball and in the field.”

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