The Proteas collapse to Pakistan again to slump to first T20 defeat in Asia
David Miller sparkled with a fighting 85 off 45 balls and spinner Tabraiz Shamsi dazzled with four wickets but in the end it was not enough to save the Proteas from defeat as they crashed to their first T20 series loss on Asian soil.
The Proteas batsmen again collapsed like a house of cards after Pakistan won the toss and chose to bowl first in the series-deciding third and final match at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on Sunday.
The hosts won the match by four wickets and sealed the series 2-1 as the Proteas slumped to their seventh T20 defeat in 10 matches since Mark Boucher took charge in December 2019.
In a T20 World Cup year‚ to be staged in India later this year Covid permitting‚ the Proteas team management will be worried as this loss was also a fourth series defeat in this format since Boucher took over.
The Proteas were beaten 2-1 at home against England in Boucher’s first T20 series and lost by the same margin to Australia before they were humiliated 3-0 at home against England late last year.
Reeza Hendricks [2 off five balls] was first to make the walk back to the dugout and was soon followed by Jon-Jon Smuts [1 off six balls] in the fourth over and Pite van Biljon [16 off 11 balls] as the Proteas slumped to 41/3 at the end of the opening six power-play overs.
The middle order of Pite van Biljon [16 off 11 balls]‚ stand-in captain Heinrich Klassen [0 off 1 ball]‚ allrounders Andile Phehlukwayo [0 off three balls] and Dwaine Pretorius [9 off 10 balls] offered very little and went out cheaply.
Miller could only watch from the other end as established batsmen fell around him‚ but he found some support from Pretorius and the pair put on a partnership of 17 off 20 balls.
When Pretorius was dismissed after 10.4 overs‚ the Proteas were staring down the barrel at 65/7 but Bjorn Fortuin joined Miller in the middle and the two put on the first meaningful partnership of the innings of 41 runs off 27 balls.
The hard-hitting Miller found willing partners in Fortuin and Lutho Sipamla‚ who stitched together good partnerships of 41 off 27 balls and 58 off 30 balls respectively as the Proteas set Pakistan a respectable target of 170 to win.
Miller was stranded on 85 with Sipamla not out on 8.
In reply‚ Pakistan got off to a flying start with openers Mohammad Rizwan [42 off 30] and Haider Ali [15 off 13] guiding the hosts to 51/0 after the first six overs.
Shamsi was the pick of the bowlers and got the breakthrough for South Africa when he got rid of Ali with his first delivery of the match and dismissed Rizwan in his second over.
Shamsi grabbed his third wicket in emphatic style when he bowled Hussain Talat [5 off six balls] and got his fourth victim when he removed Asif Ali [7 off eight balls] on the halfway mark to leave Pakistan in a spot of bother at 112/4.
Top scorer and captain Babar Azam smashed 44 runs off 30 balls to take Pakistan near the target‚ but it was left to the tail-enders to finish the job after the skipper lost his wicket.
Mohammad Nawaz [18 not out] and Hasan Ali [20 not out] were at the crease when Pakistan reached the victory target with six balls remaining.
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