Rusty you beauty! Delivers the near-perfect yorker on off stump and Shoaib can't do much with that. It went off the edge, for a single to AB. Not enough. Johan Botha roars. Alam is heart-broken. South Africa have completed one of their narrowest wins by runs in ODIs.
That one-short in the 49th over, that's where South Africa clawed back in. If they had settled for two instead, Alam would have kept strike. Until then, everything in the end overs was going Pakistan's way.
That said, I dare say, Pakistan have only themselves to blame. That they got this close is down to some incredible late hitting from Fawad Alam and Wahab Riaz. In reality, they had no business letting it get so close. Imran Farhat and co. took too long without going anywhere, and Shahid Afridi and co. left too much for the lower order.
South Africa have dodged a bullet, but they will be concerned with this show. Barring one man - Hashim Amla. Even Morne Morkel who finished with 4 wickets, lost the plot in the end overs. And too many dropped catches in the end.
Apologies about the stat regarding this being the closest win for SA by runs. They said so on TV, but there has been a one-run victory before.
Jason: "As an American that's new to cricket, I don't have any team loyalties (although I do tend to root for England). But I must say that, after a few of the shows that Pakistan have put on despite their troubles this summer, I am finding myself cheering them on."
Adil: "@Jason: Welcome to Pakistan. The land of the unpredictable!"
HS: "at 20 from 18 balls, wished Shoaib came in instead if Ajmal, especially with a senior partner out there.. Ajmal had no clue how to handle the situation,, the way he batted , you think they needed 4 of each ball." I agree with that line of thinking.
Time for the presentations.
Hashim Amla is the Man of the Match. "It was a tough wicket, but I got some rhythm going. I realised from the beginning that I needed to bat through. I knew 200-220 is a good score here. Each game gives me a bit more experience, and things have gone well recently."
Afridi: "The body language today was always positive. I think South Africa's fielding made the difference. Our batting approach was negative, but Shoaib bowled really well."
Botha: "Luck went out way tonight (smiling). Alam played really well, luckily we came through. (About the fielding) that's something we should work on. Amla is a world-class player - one of the best one-day innings.. it set the win up for us."
Right, so two classics on the trot, as South Africa surge to a 2-1 lead. Pakistan need to win everything now and we all know that's when they produce their best. Osman Samiuddin's bulletin will be up here shortly. While you wait for it, a good time to head to our Facebook and Twitter pages. On behalf of the team at ESPNcricinfo, this is Nitin Sundar signing off. Cheers!
One ball. Four to get. What a finish. It doesn't matter who wins, this has been a classic game.
Over to that man, Shoaib Akhtar. He started it for Pakistan today with the ball. He is one shot / inside edge / top edge away from finishing it for them.
Ajmal is gone! Rusty hits the castle. Dubai goes quiet. It was back of a length outside off and Ajmal looked to tap it to the off side for one. He missed and it nipped the off bail out of the groove.
Over to Ajmal. He needs to keep his wits here.
Full outside off, Theron finally lands it on the money and Alam can't do much except squeeze it past the bowler to long on for one.
They are a shot away. 5 off 3.
another short ball, Alam stays in the crease and looks to pull. He doesn't time the cross-batted swat, but manages to elude the infield and pick a couple to deep midwicket
They are dropping everything! Alam looks to loft over extra cover and ends up scooping it straight up. Three fielders could have taken it, Albie running across from deep point settled under it and then let it go down. Two more taken. What a finish!
manages to land this one and Alam looks to slog him across the line towards the leg side. He misses. Dot!
starts with a very high full toss well wide outside off, and it is called no-ball for height! Alam keeps his wits about him and cross bats it away to deep extra cover for 2. 3 runs in all and the ball has to be rebowled! Come on Rusty!
Rusty to bowl. 12 off 6. Alam faces.
12 off 6.
and again, that one short really hurt Pakistan there! Alam was the culprit for the one short which ensured Ajmal had strike for the 5th ball, and this one. He swishes twice outside off and it is two dots.
Ajmal looks to swing a length ball outside off and misses
Alam goes aerial and Amla puts it down! That was in the slot for the slog and Alam looks to clear midwicket. He hits it far too high for his liking, and as it transpired, for Amla's too. He came running in as it swirled under the ring of fire and he grassed it. Fitting that the batsmen ran one short as they tried to take three
well bowled Lonwabo. Alam backs away to the leg side, Lonwabo sees him and fires it at his legs and it goes through Alam down the leg side to the keeper
Ajmal looks to cart him over extra cover and will be thankful about the lack of timing. It landed a few yards in front of Amla running in from the sweeper cover. Alam has strike now
Lonwabo! What have you done! Wide down the leg. Not the time for an extra
well, what was that? Ajmal tries to do a Tillakaratne Dilshan to a ball angling across and well wide of off as he tries to paddle sweep. He misses and it is a dot
Nitish: "Don't mess with ODI CRICKET!!! the last game and this game are the perfect advertisement. Except some of those umpiring decisions"
16 off 12. Alam and Ajmal plan their approach. Tsotsobe looks set to bowl. Pressure!
Alam has an almighty swoosh at a ball wide outside off and misses. Only 4 off that over.
Asjaml looks to pull and has no clue where that went. It went behind point and they steal a leg bye
both teams attempt suicide there! Pakistan survive. Ajmal works it off the pads straight to Ingram at midwicket and takes off. No single in that. Ingram collects and then throws it very wide of AB, who is forced to shy at thre stumps after collecting the throw. And he misses. That was a horror throw from Ingram
slow off cutter at 112 kph and Alam chips out and adjusts to the change of pace. He chips it down the ground for a single and brings up a spunky little fifty. He has gutsed it out in tough conditions.
18 off 16
sensible. Ajmal waits for a length ball outside off and is almost on the run as he taps it into the covers. Single taken.
full on off stump and Alam can only drill a single down to long off. They don't need any risks from here, especially so with just 2 wickets in hand.
Ajmal walks out, with a very shiny green helmet. Only Saqlain Mushtaq used to wear this particular shade. It's gleaming away under the ring of fire. 20 off 18. Two wickets in hand. Theron runs in.