Kallis and Smith lead South African run-chase
South Africa 221 for 6 in 45 overs (Kallis 62, Smith 51) beat Pakistan 243 for 8 in 50 overs (Hameed 72, Razzaq 46*; Ntini 3-45) by 13 runs (D-L method)
Yasir Hameed en route to his 72 © AFP
South Africa kept the one-day series alive by beating Pakistan on the Duckworth/Lewis method at Faisalabad, when bad light forced play to be called off five overs early, with 23 runs still needed, and only four wickets in hand. The win made it 2-1 to Pakistan with two matches to go - the next in Rawalpindi on Friday (Oct 10).
Shoaib Akhtar had set up an enthralling finale with some stunning fast bowling, but the deteriorating light forced the umpires to call the players off with South Africa well ahead of their 45-over D/L target of 208. South Africa's run chase was inspired by Jacques Kallis and Graeme Smith, who added an even 100, while Jacques Rudolph held it together when things threatened to fall apart. Pakistan owed their total to Yasir Hameed's 72, and to a late flurry from Abdul Razzaq.
Akhtar had bowled a fiery four-over spell first up, during the course of which he sent back Herschelle Gibbs. A ball after he had eased one through the covers for four, Gibbs couldn't resist poking at one that pitched on off stump. The thin edge was easily held by Rashid Latif (10 for 1).
Three balls later, Akhtar should have been celebrating a second wicket, as Kallis got an inner edge while attempting an off-drive. But his subdued reaction - in sharp contrast to his excited team-mates' - seemed to convince Darrell Hair that there had been no nick.
Kallis made full use of the life, playing some superb drives off Umar Gul, whose figures were further ruined by some fortuitous edged fours. When Saqlain Mushtaq came on, Smith greeted him with three superb fours. To make matters worse for Yousuf Youhana, Pakistan's stand-in captain, Saqlain had all sorts of problems with his run-up, bowling six no-balls.
Kallis, who had earlier spanked Gul for a six and a four through the leg side, rotated the strike cleverly once the fielding restrictions were removed, and South Africa were well on top when Smith departed in tame fashion. Shortly after reaching 50, he attempted to dab Razzaq past point, but only managed a thick edge through to Latif (110 for 2).
The two Jacques then cobbled together a useful partnership before Akhtar turned the match on its head. After Kallis had struck a superb off-drive, he hit him on the hip with a full-toss, which ran away for four. The next ball was the perfect yorker, and Kallis's off stump went for a hike (146 for 3).
Boeta Dippenaar played a ridiculous shot to be bowled off his pads by Mohammad Hafeez (157 for 4), before Rudolph and Mark Boucher got the run-chase back on track. Boucher played a couple of stunning sweeps off Shoaib Malik on his way to 24, before Akhtar castled him with another screeching yorker (206 for 5). When Rudolph, assured and elegant en route to 46, skyed one from Malik to Razzaq in the deep two balls later, Pakistan had a sniff of victory. But a meaty six from Andrew Hall off Saqlain tilted the equation in South Africa's favour before gloom descended on the Pakistani camp.
Earlier, Hameed provided the stability and mid-innings impetus, while Razzaq added some late urgency as Pakistan set up a challenging total. South Africa's bowlers kept their discipline, and their nerve, knowing that defeat would end any real interest in the series.
Pollock was at his Scrooge-like best in the opening stages, troubling both batsmen with his probing line and length. At the other end, Andre Nel was hostile without being quite as controlled. On another belter of a pitch, both Hameed and Hafeez struggled to get any sort of batting rhythm going, taking 15 overs to bring up the 50.
Hafeez departed soon after that, when an ugly hoick off Hall looped off the outside edge to Dippenaar at extra cover (52 for 1). Youhana came in, and promptly struck two magnificent cover-drives off Makhaya Ntini. When Ntini strayed onto leg stump, he was deftly flicked down to the fine-leg fence. With Kallis brought into the attack to join Hall, Hameed also joined in the fun, with two meaty drives over midwicket, and a fine stroke through cover.
South Africa's frustration was increased by a run-out that wasn't given. With Youhana (9) at the bowler's end, Hall deflected a Hameed drive onto the stumps. The South Africans appealed, with Youhana out of his ground, but Hair didn't even see fit to consult the third umpire.
Ntini ensured that it wouldn't be too costly, when he came back for his second spell. Youhana lunged at one that pitched on off stump, and the faint tickle was well taken by Boucher (95 for 2).
Hameed played some more clunking strokes through midwicket as he motored past his half-century, before he was undone by Robin Peterson. He made room to slam a flighted delivery over cover, but Gibbs jumped up smartly to pluck the ball out of the air (128 for 3). Moments later, Peterson had more cause to celebrate as Younis Khan slammed one straight to Ntini at deep midwicket (139 for 4).
Malik and Faisal Iqbal then took the score to 169 in decent time, before Nel came back to nail Iqbal, who had made 22. A clever yorker took the edge of the bat, and Boucher dived smartly to his right to snaffle the chance. Malik, so influential with the bat in the first two games, played two lovely shots down to third man in his 18, but then sliced one from Ntini to Gibbs at point (181 for 6).
Latif hit out for 14, before miscuing one from Pollock to Kallis at deep point (200 for 7). But Razzaq then played some cracking shots down the ground and over midwicket to ensure that the South African batsmen would have to be at the top of their game to prevent Pakistan from running away with the series. When they threatened to falter, the forces of darkness stepped in to help.