Pakistan v South Africa, 3rd ODI, Abu Dhabi November 6, 2013

South Africa go 2-1 up with easy win


South Africa 259 for 8 (Duminy 64, Irfan 3-46) beat Pakistan 191 (Tahir 4-53) by 68 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

South Africa's batting improved to match their bowling effort and with both departments at a similar standard, took a 2-1 lead in the five-match series. Half-centuries from Faf du Plessis and JP Duminy helped South Africa post their first total over 250 in 11 innings before another impressive effort from their attack made sure Pakistan were just about out of the match before the batting Powerplay of their innings was over.

The last time Pakistan successfully chased a total of over 250 was more than two years and nine months ago, when they beat New Zealand in Napier. After the start Ahmed Shehzad and Mohammad Hafeez gave, it seemed that could change in Abu Dhabi. They posted 50 in 47 balls with 80% of the runs coming in boundaries but between them and Wahab Riaz and Sohail Tanvir's blitz, there was little else from a line-up which is prone to collapses.

South Africa had both their big names players back in the XI with Hashim Amla slotting in at the top of the order and Dale Steyn included as well. Amla made little difference, bowled for 10 by Mohammad Irfan, but Steyn struck the blow that turned the match.

After Shehzad and Hafeez got on top of South Africa, with Morne Morkel and Lonwabo Tsotsobe struggling to hit the right lengths in their opening spell, Steyn made the decisive inroad. His first delivery was short and angling away. Shehzad prodded and was caught behind and Pakistan's momentum was abruptly halted.

Shehzad had played with freedom to that point, driving, pulling and cutting to leave the new ball bowlers looking out of sorts. Once he was gone, South Africa asserted their authority, removing Hafeez in the next over through a good catch by du Plessis at point.

Steyn left the field after his initial three-over spell and seemed to be clutching his hamstring but returned to bowl soon after. He handed over to Tsotsobe, who bowled a controlled second spell, headlined by 21 dot balls in succession to build pressure even while Imran Tahir was leaking runs at the other end.

Tsotsobe was rewarded for his miserliness. His 19th dot was edged by Umar Amin and even though he wasn't given out on field, the review revealed a clear nick. Eight balls later, Tahir trapped Misbah lbw with the googly - the Pakistan captain was too late to review but it would not have mattered - and Pakistan had unravelled.

Having swelled with confidence, Tahir bowled a range of variations and picked up two more wickets not off his best balls but because of poor shot selection - Umar Akmal who returned a full toss to the legspinner and Asad Shafiq who gifted a catch to cover. Ryan McLaren's wily effort could easily have gone unnoticed but his mixture of change of pace and immaculate line helped him claim the wicket of Shahid Afridi to leave the Pakistan tail to end the match with dignity.

Wahab and Tanvir had some fun, swinging their way to a stand of 61, the highest of the innings but by then it was too late. Pakistan needed partnerships earlier, like South Africa had to be able to chase down the total.

Quinton de Kock and du Plessis put on 77 in a display of the former's new-found maturity and the latter's return to form. De Kock has obviously tightened around the offstump after the torrid time he had in Sri Lanka while the move to promote du Plessis to No.3 paid off.

He was struggling against spin in the previous matches and giving him time against a newer ball proved the right decision. Du Plessis had time to settle in and batted with more patience and composed an innings for the first time in many months. Both he and de Kock were out to Afridi, in what could have allowed Pakistan to run through South Africa but the middle-order held firm.

JP Duminy was given out lbw off Irfan, who struggled with his lines, on three but reviewed successfully - the first time that has happened in the series - and survived a run-out chance. Irfan dropped a catch in his follow through from de Villiers but didn't get a finger on the ball as it hit the non-striker's stumps, where Duminy was out of his ground.

The nervous moments did not affect either Duminy or de Villiers as they took advantage of anything too full and rotated strike cautiously but effectively to post a stand of 70. They put South Africa in a position from which 300 seemed possible but de Villiers was the victim of a sharp catch when he pulled Ajmal to fine leg where Hafeez pouched the ball going backwards.

Duminy, even after reaching fifty off 67 balls, remained watchful but McLaren managed ten runs in the last over. South Africa scored 34 in the last five to suggest their batting is making progress after being bowled out for under 200 in the two matches before this.

Once they posted a competitive total, for the third time in a row this series, the chasing team came off second best.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Nasir on November 10, 2013, 8:46 GMT

    @deconstruct . Thanks dude to bring some sanity to these comments area over here. People who can't understand cricket can criticize Misbah. May be Misbah cannot get in other batting line ups like India and Australia, but Misbah not qualifying for the current Pakistan team is a ridiculous argument. If Misbah performs we make 200 if he does not we hardly reach 150. No matter how pathetic it looks but this is the state of Pakistan batting line up. Someone else also has to make some runs too. Umar Akmal is a talented player but that is not good excuse to bat badly, saying that he wants a higher position in the batting order. All teams have major match winners playing at 6 and for that matter 7. Dhoni is a great example, sometimes he walks in when one of the best batting in the world have failed in the top order and he just wins the match from there.

  • Faisal on November 8, 2013, 4:29 GMT

    Some comments here (like the one by Majid Saleem) sicken me. Apparently, there are no limits to the depth which a prejudice can make you sink! Blaming the batting failures of others on Misbah reeks of rank personal bias and is an argument totally devoid of logic. And as for the point that Pakistan batting was better before Misbah became captain.....!!! RIDICULOUS. Please check your facts before you hit the keyboard. Anyone remembers those series under Salman Butt and before him Muhammad Yousuf. And even before, for that matter. Give it up guys.

  • Dummy4 on November 7, 2013, 17:06 GMT

    @Stark62- thnkx, the reason I said to bring Kami back is that first, we dropped him when he actually started to keep well in his last 2 series, he helped to win match with batting against Ireland, he was again being wasted at no-7 when he is the best batsman against fast bowling in Pakistan,we don't have any other keeper batsman in the country,forget Sarfraz, the other reason was to get Umer free from this keeper-batsman mindset, it will help if we play him in tests as a batsman alone. when he let to believe that ok I done my bit by keeping and now at no-6, doesn't matter much if I score or not,,we are using him as a slogger which he is not, again reason being likes of Afridi is not dependable any more and we are not grooming next big hitters at no-7, likes of Hammad for example, Umer I think kind of kid who needs lots of mentoring to make him understand his role but for that he should bat where he thinks he belongs.

  • Dummy4 on November 7, 2013, 17:03 GMT

    all hard work from our bowlers easily thrashed by our batsmen, their lack of ability to read the situation is beyond my imagination. a fear of getting out is holding them back to do well in this level. Their lack of ability to finding gaps, taking singles is worse in top playing nations. A team fails to score 200 runs should be bottom on ICC rankings, Pakistan is playing worse then Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. no fault in batting, fault is in their mind, they need to learn from other teams how they approach when it comes to chase the target, and how to set up a big target. my team for next ODI is. Shehzad, Nasir, Hafeez, Misbah, shoaib, akmal, afridi, sohail, ajmal, irfan, Junaid

  • Rizwan on November 7, 2013, 15:07 GMT

    To the So called cricket fans let me tell you one thing Pakistan cricket was better when General Pervez Musharraf was in-charge of the country as soon as Zadari took over corruption spread everywhere like a virus now its time for Nawaz Sharif to make things worse for Pakistan & its people.

    Main problem we have is in our batting department I still believe our bowling is world class hopefully with the return of Amir it will improve a lot we need to kick out Safarshii players out like Mohmaad Hafeez who has been failing through out his career & yet he finds a place in the team because he is good friends with Misbha and Co look at his record not even a single 100 against likes of Sa Eng Aus not even in UAE flat deck this tells you what kind of player he is.Mishbah has to go Afridi has to go too & get new players who will make difference I mean good players like Harris Sohail maqsood ext ext. keep younus in test and odi so he can share his experience with youngsters.

  • Omar- on November 7, 2013, 14:41 GMT

    Sohaib Maqsood for Umar Amin , drop wahab riaz and bring back Nasir jamshed.

    Hafeez should play at Number 6 & Umar Akmal at Number 3.

  • Cool on November 7, 2013, 13:50 GMT

    @Saud Sher Mohammad - Don't think anyone will complain as long they keep winning india a world cup or a champions trophy here and there. what major trophies have your so called great bowlers won for you? and i am sure come 2015 world cup, your bowlers will not be able to perform under pressure as usual.

  • Stark on November 7, 2013, 12:51 GMT

    @ Tariq Butt I agree with most of your statement, except for the part about Kamran returning!!

    U. Akmal is a much, much better keeper than him and arguably our best limited overs batsman but he isn't being given a chance at the top and he recently gave an interview, where he raised his dissatisfaction at the allocated batting number to him.

    How would you feel, if you batted exceptionally well in the previous series and was still persisted with at no. 6, whilst someone who has done nothing gets to bat at no. 3?

    Lastly, Shezhad has been wonderful in this series but come the next series, he will be dropped after a bad run and if you don't believe me, then ask Jamshed!

  • Dummy4 on November 7, 2013, 12:51 GMT

    I totally agree with imbrazil. I have only seen downfall of PAK team after Misbah became captain! Please remove him from squad. How many times team collapsed before his captaincy? maybe once or twice a year? not once every match! A good captain enhances his team, not declines their performance. I see TEAM demotivated. No sense in taking out in form Junaid out of squad for WAHAB. Yes Wahab can be a replacement for Misbah. He bats better than him, take him as batting all-rounder! Umar Amin came in team as an all rounder. Why he has never been given ball till date? even after WAHAB goes for 30+ in 3 overs! Umar Akmal is among batsmen who knows to score 100, unlike Misbah. But he needs to be promoted to number 3 or 4 at max. Hafeez is too EXTREMELY cautious.. He should play ODI as T20. I am sure he will have lots of runs in his account. If every player comes to crease just try to stay till 50 overs. Its no fun in playing. Sports is a source of Entertainment. Please let it be Entertainmen

  • Steve on November 7, 2013, 12:40 GMT

    Once again, Umar Akmal disappoints with bat. I feel he should bat much higher, either open the innings or at 3 where he can play his shots without much pressure. Surprised Pak selectors can't see what the rest of world can, Hazeez is only good for T20s. With his batting in doldrums, even his once reliable bowling is coming apart these days. Finally, laws of average is catching up with Misbah, who had great run all through the year until now. My be stating the obvious, it is Pak's batting is losing the games for them while their fielding isn't much of help either.