South Africa v Pakistan, 3rd ODI, Johannesburg March 17, 2013

Amla, de Villiers set up South Africa victory


South Africa 343 for 5 (Amla 122, de Villiers 128) beat Pakistan 309 (Afridi 88, Hafeez 57) by 34 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

South Africa were pretty and effective in pink as they took the series lead in a thriller at the Wanderers. But they almost saw red as Shahid Afridi scored his first half-century since February last year to keep Pakistan in the game well into its latter stages.

Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers shared a record third-wicket stand of 238 and scored at 7.84 to the over to set Pakistan a massive target before South Africa's bowlers used variation to stub out any chance of a successful chase.

After taking a bruising the field, with the third seamer Wahab Riaz conceding 93 runs, the most number of runs by a Pakistan bowler in an ODI, they needed someone to bat through. Mohammed Hafeez appeared the man up for the task with an aggressive half-century, but middle order wobbles meant it was up to Afridi to bludgeon the team home and he almost did.

To begin with, at 26 for 2, having faced 48 dot balls in 10 overs, it did not look as though South Africa would post a 300-plus score. It took 14 balls before they recorded their first run and both Graeme Smith and Colin Ingram grew impatient with the difficulties of contending with extra bounce from Mohammad Irfan and movement into the right-hander from Junaid Khan.

Hashim Amla was given out lbw off Junaid's second ball but it was found to have pitched just outside leg on review. That was one of the lifelines given to Amla, the other came when he was dropped on 36, edging to point after a somewhat shaky start.

Amla had de Villiers' boundless energy to keep the run-rate moving while he settled in and when he did, Pakistan were left to rue their generosity. De Villiers showed his intent as he arrived at the crease when he broke a boundary drought that had lasted 36 balls, and he did not stop there.

Misbah-ul-Haq saved Saeed Ajmal until the half-way point in the innings, and de Villiers and Amla tucked in. They brought out a range of shots as eyecatching as the pink kit they were wearing and a reminder of why they are ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the world. They had it all: sweeps, reverse-sweeps, lofts, pushes, glances and cuts, all expertly timed and sprinkled with delicate touches.

De Villiers twirled his wrists to beat point and third man and moved across his off-stump to ramp Wahab over short-fine. He fell in the process but never lost control of the shot. His back-to-back sixes off Hafeez, a slog sweep and then a smash over extra cover were arguably the best of his innovative knock. His century came off 87 deliveries.

Amla's was also scored at better than a run a ball, his taking 99 balls. Placement was his hallmark as he peppered the covers with beautiful drives. He mixed that with aggression, evident in his smack off Afridi over long-off. His footwork, especially his dance across the offstump to hit on the on-side, remained unmatched for its quality.

As the stand grew and the pair threw caution to the wind, they both fell. Amla was caught at extra cover and de Villiers top-edged to midwicket after bringing up the 300. Their dismissals would have done nothing to lift Pakistan, though. Faf du Plessis promptly recorded the most expensive over of the innings when he dispatched Wahab for 20 runs and his cameo ensured Pakistan would have a big battle on their hands.

They stuttered from the get-go when Nasir Jamshed gave away his wicket, chipping a good length, slower ball to mid-off.

Kamran Akmal was promoted up the order again, a move that brought some success. He pouched on width from Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Steyn's short ball. There was still a degree of circumspection to his and Hafeez's approach but they scored fairly quickly for the 13 overs they were together.

They accumulated 82 runs and found the boundary 13 times, Hafeez hitting back to back sixes off Robin Peterson to bring up his half-century. Hafeez and Kamran took Pakistan to three runs short of a 100 inside 17 overs before Akmal tried to upper cut a Ryan McLaren slower bouncer but edged behind.

Hafeez retreated into a shell once Younis Khan arrived and eventually the frustration boiled over. He holed out to mid-on off Robin Peterson, where Steyn, who has dismissed him five times all told on the tour, was waiting. South African celebrations were wild as they thought they had removed the biggest threat.

But there was another to come. Afridi showed some of his boom boom in the first ODI in Bloemfontein but brought the rest to Johannesburg. None of the seamers executed the yorker Allan Donald promised they had been practicing and offered Afridi length, which he lapped up. He cleared the boundary, over mid-wicket and long-off, four times to get South African nerves jangling as he brought up a half-century off 31 balls.

Misbah's dismissal did not stop him, if anything, it only spurred him on. Despite carrying a bruised thumb after being hit by Steyn, he swatted four more boundaries before inside-edging onto his stumps off a McLaren low full toss on 73. Replays showed it was a no-ball.

Afridi made a mockery of McLaren's free-hit delivery, smoking him for what could be the biggest six seen at the Wanderers. The ball landed on the roof of the stand at the Golf Course End and then rolled over it.

In the next over, Afridi was dropped by Smith at deep extra cover but his luck eventually ran out. Tsotsobe still missed the yorker length and offered a full toss, which Afridi hit to long-off where McLaren took the catch. He checked for a no-ball because of the height but the delivery was legitimate and an entertaining knock ended with Pakistan still needing 100 runs to win.

It was expected to be a bridge too far but Wahab came close to crossing it. He batted for seven overs with Saeed Ajmal, putting on 38 runs to set up a final assault. When Ajmal was caught at mid-off, Wahab kept going, placing his shots well and finding gaps.

Junaid Khan also abandoned him and it was up to Irfan, who had earlier left the field with an upset tummy, to hang on until the end. But it was Wahab who could not. He was yorked by Kleinveldt, who finally got it right, at the start of the 49th over to end a spirited contest.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Vinod on March 20, 2013, 12:39 GMT

    really enjoyed the contest! it was a great knock from AB (as usual) and Hashim who came back with a reversal of decision. Shahid's fight back was interesting to watch but i felt that he was running out of partners. glad to see a bit of "old Shahid Afridi" which i am witnessing after a long gap. if Hafeez could have been there with him, they would have finished it with some balls left unbowled. i loved the way he called 'Billy.... billy' at the start of his innings to take the guard. without him in the team, we feel there is no spice in the curry. still a fantastic player to watch out.

  • Dummy4 on March 19, 2013, 18:36 GMT

    Let Afridi, open the innings for Pakistan!

  • asad on March 19, 2013, 18:20 GMT

    I don't get why people are saying that Afridi should open its better to have Hafeez or K. Akmal or Nasir or AHmed Shehzad. Pakistan should really try making Ahmed open atleast once because in the T20 he opened really well and almost got a half century. Hafeez is not bad at opening either cuz he showed in the last match that he is getting over his Steyn-o-phobia and hopefully plays atacking cricket against him next time.The earliest Afridi should come in is at no.4 and he come in later then no.6 cuz i think u need a few batsmen before and after Afridi to make sure he can be used effectively.

  • Dummy4 on March 19, 2013, 14:56 GMT

    entertaining match well i would like pakistan to drop nasir jamshed nd open wt kamran nd hafeez or maybe use jamshed in kamran place then younus asad shafiq umarakmal misbah afridi umar gul or sohail tanvir ajmal junaid irfan nd the most importan thing is bowl hafeez frm the very nxt over frm bowling power play nd use ajmal the way afridi use him in odi when he is captain

  • Dummy4 on March 19, 2013, 11:01 GMT

    Drop nasir jamshed for umar akmal.

  • Kazi Saddam on March 19, 2013, 2:05 GMT

    pak team must need flow this..... 1.Afridi 2-3 Jam/Akmal 4.Hafiz 5.Mijbah 6.Umar Ukmal 7.Ashad 8.Umar gul 9.Ajmal 10.Tanvir/Junait 11. Ifran

    i think they should flow the serial number. i think they must made 280+ up to 320 runs.

  • asad on March 18, 2013, 21:35 GMT

    I think Nasir Jamshed should perform soon cuz he hasn't done anything impressive for a while now. I would pick: 1 Nasir Jamshed/ Ahmed Shehzad, 2 Mohammed Hafeez, 3 Kamran Akmal(wk), 4 Umar Akmal/ Asad Shafiq/ Younis Khan, 5 Misbah-ul-haq(capt), 6 Shahid Afridi 7 Abdur Rehman/ Shoaib Malik, 8 Umar Gul/ Wahab Riaz(only if Gul is injured), 9 Saed Ajmal 10 Junaid Khan 11 Mohammed Irfan/ Sohail Tanvir(only if M. Irfan is injured).

    For all of the positions with 2 or more players I put the most prefered one first. If Younis gets to play then Afridi should come in at no.4 and Younis should come in at no.6 cuz in this match there was no other batsman left to carry on from where Afridi left off and thats why Pakistan lost.

  • asad on March 18, 2013, 21:24 GMT

    Pakstan chased very well in this match, I think both teams should be happy with their performance yesterday but SA obviously more cuz they won. Pakistan need to get rid of Wahab even as a back up cuz he conceded so many runs and scored less than half that much. Pakistan would have won if he hadn't conceded so many runs. I don't get why Wahab got to complete all of his overs cuz it was his last few overs that caused SA to score the winning runs. There is proof of this if you look at the worm graph Pakistan's run rate was always higher than SA's except for the last few overs.It would have been ideal if M. Irfan and Junaid Khan bowled the last few overs cuz they wouldn't have conceded much runs. Afridi batted very well and he has proved that he is in form now and is very dangerous for the opponents. Misbah should have played aggressive cricket with Afridi when they were both at the crease.Hopefully M. Irfan and Gul get well soon cuz we need those 2 to prevent Wahab and Tanvir from playing

  • IMRAN on March 18, 2013, 19:00 GMT

    Please fire Misbah & younis and bring youngster Please! Umar and Asad should be in otherwise pakistan will not win any game until and unless Pak bowlers take wickets under 250!!! Middle order is a bad luck for Pakistan ..... please change it

  • IMRAN on March 18, 2013, 18:28 GMT

    Excellent batting by Amla and AB, world best player. It was good to see Afiridi scoring run GOOD NEWS AND HAPPY FACES FOR AFRIDI's fan club, Afridi is such charm that whole nation has forgot PAKISTAN has lost the game and PAKISTAN batting line up. I hope Pakistan will sit Misbah and Younis in next 2 games and bring Umar Akmal and Asad and give them opportunity to play cricket and I am sure they could have won last game for Pakistan.