South Africa 187 for 2 (Hendricks 83*, du Plessis 40*, Hasan 1-33) beat Pakistan 317 for 6 (Imam 101, Babar 69, Steyn 2-43) by 13 runs (via D/L method)
South Africa pulled ahead into a 2-1 series lead with a 13-run win in a rain-curtailed match at Centurion. Heavy rain accompanied by a high wind blew over the ground and stopped play for almost an hour after South Africa had lost Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla in pursuit of Pakistan's 317 for 6, but Reeza Hendricks went on the attack after the resumption to reach 83 off 90 balls.
He dominated an unbroken 108-run stand with Faf du Plessis to leave South Africa 13 runs ahead of the D/L par score when the rain returned later in the evening with the hosts well-placed at 187 for 2 after 33 overs. Their game-changing stand meant Imam-ul-Haq's fifth one-day international century amid a dominant display from Pakistan's batsmen went in vain.
Hendricks took a little time to find his groove after he came to the middle with Amla and de Kock having set South Africa off with a positive 53-run opening stand. He was also a party to the run-out of de Kock, confused calling finding de Kock short of his ground for 33.
Then the weather set in. The first half of the match had been played under blue skies, but a highveld thunderstorm came rolling over the ground just as Pakistan were starting to exert significant pressure. So keen were they to secure the covers and ensure a resumption that Hasan Ali took it upon himself to help the grounds staff pull the covers into the middle.
After a rain delay of almost an hour, South Africa came back out without having lost any overs, but with DLS par scores now dictating the formula for the remainder of their chase. Hendricks responded to the task with a calculated assault on the bowlers, taking a boundary off each of Shadab Khan and Imad Wasim's first overs after the break and then launching Shadab twice onto the grass banks beyond midwicket when he dropped short.
Hendricks also took two fours off an over from Hasan Ali, the first of which helped him to a 53-ball fifty. At the other end, du Plessis played himself in and turned the strike over to Hendricks before tucking into the bowling himself as it became clear that the inclement weather was returning. His slog sweep sent Shadab onto the grass banks for the third time in the evening, and du Plessis crunched back-to-back boundaries through the covers to put South Africa well ahead.
Persistent drizzle turned into rain around the end of the 29th over, with South Africa at 172 for 2, 13 ahead of the par score. With a vocal Friday night crowd in the stadium, the umpires kept the players in the middle for as long as possible but when the rain got heavier at the end of the 33rd over, another stoppage was unavoidable. Ultimately, it proved a terminal one and no more play was possible, with South Africa still 13 runs ahead.
The bad weather ruined what could have been a thrilling finish to the match, and also nullified Pakistan's efforts with the bat. The visitors took advantage of a flat track and a ragged performance in the field from South Africa, Imam sharing in stands of 132 with Babar Azam and 84 with Mohammad Hafeez to set a platform before a promoted Imad Wasim accelerated the innings with a 23-ball 43 not out.
South Africa dropped five catches in the field and Pakistan were thus able to slowly but surely build momentum through their innings, taking just 38 off the opening Powerplay but 91 off the last ten to make the errors count on what was the most batting-friendly pitch of Pakistan's tour so far.
After Beuran Hendricks, the left-arm seamer on one-day international debut, struck with his seventh ball in this format, Babar - dropped on 9 by Andile Phehlukwayo at square leg - led Pakistan's counterattack. Imam took his time settling in, his strike-rate nestled around 50 until the first drinks break, after which he started to take a more proactive approach.
At the other end, Babar reached a 56-ball fifty but the pair were made to toil through their century stand, running a lot of singles. Just as they began to reverse the pressure - and three balls after Imam was put down at mid off - Babar misread a Steyn slower ball to be trapped in front of his stumps for 69.
His dismissal set up the prospect of a re-run of the ongoing battle between Steyn and Hafeez, and Steyn should have had Hafeez for a 16th time in internationals when he found the outside edge with Hashim Amla at slip. But Amla palmed the chance away one-handed, and Hafeez instead ran to a 44-ball fifty.
He fell straight afterwards, but Imam ticked on to his hundred, having raised his strike rate to the high 80s. He has a remarkable conversion rate in this format, having now scored more hundreds than he has fifties, but his concentration wavered after he had celebrated his hundred in emotional, critic-silencing fashion. He holed out to Rassie van der Dussen at deep cover straight afterwards to give Shamsi his first wicket.
Shoaib Malik, having been put down off a difficult, dipping chance by David Miller, raised the tempo further at the death, putting on 52 with Imad. Imad, too, was dropped, drilling Phehlukwayo to Reeza Hendricks in the deep, the fielder reverse-cupping and missing the chance.
Despite their errors, South Africa managed to rein Pakistan in a little at the death, Kagiso Rabada and Dale Steyn striking consecutively in the 48th and 49th overs. Faced with a target that was never out of reach on a placid track, Hendricks' knock made all the difference to the final result when the rain brought the match to a premature end.
Liam Brickhill is a freelance journalist based in Cape Town