Sun, 09 May 2021

Clueless Proteas massacred after Babar masterclass

15 Apr 2021, 04:14 GMT+10

Marshalled by their silky, irrepressible, and majestic batting bulwark and captain Babar Azam, Pakistan freewheeled themselves to a ridiculously easy nine-wicket win against a clueless South Africa in the third T20 at SuperSport Park in Centurion.

By reeling in South Africa's 203/5 by posting 205/1, Pakistan pulled off their highest successful T20 chase with the comfort of 12 balls to spare and took an unassailable 2-1 lead in the four-game series.

It was an epic batting turkey shoot where South Africa dished up a buffet of boundary balls that Azam (122 off 59) and his opening partner Mohammad Rizwan (73* off 47) gladly feasted on.

It was messy stuff on a shirtfront of a SuperSport Park surface where all but two of SA's five bowlers went for less than 10 an over.

The duo that conceded nine and eight an over in George Linde (0/38) and Lizaad Willams (1/34) did little to stem the flow of runs.

In raising his maiden T20 100 off 49 balls, Azam became the third Pakistani batsman behind Ahmed Shehzad and Rizwan to do so.

Azam and Rizwan also compiled Pakistan's highest ever T20 opening stand (197), surpassing the 142 set by Kamran Akmal and Salman Butt (v Bangladesh in 2010) and Mukhtar Ahmed and Shehzad (v Zimbabwe in 2015).

There was an ease to Pakistan's chase that was unnerving.

Beuran Hendricks (0/55) was bludgeoned in his first three overs as the visitors raced to 46/0 in the first five overs while finishing the six-over powerplay on 64/0.

In emulating Aiden Markram and Janneman Malan, they scaled that up to 101/0 after 10 overs, with Azam's clean hitting seeing him reach his 18th T20 fifty off only 27 balls with seven fours and one six.

Rizwan was unusually sedate, but his strike rotation worked as it allowed Azam to caress the ball to all parts of the ground.

Having reached his fourth T20 50 off 32 balls with three fours and two sixes, he was given a life on 51 in the 14th overs when Pite van Biljon grassed him at gully off Hendricks.

Azam marched on unchecked with his sumptuous hitting and ensured his recent dominance over South Africa will continue.

He was eventually out with 14 balls remaining when he feathered Williams to Heinrich Klaasen, but the horse had long bolted.

Fakhar Zaman (8*) slapped two boundaries to surgically end the pain for the beleaguered hosts, who genuinely thought they had a chance.

On losing the toss and batting first, contrasting 50s from Markram (63) and Malan (55) set the tone for the innings.

There wasn't a particular bowler that was singled out for preferential treatment. They went after all of them and with some success.

The consistency of SA's batting, especially up front, saw SA reach 52/0 after five overs and 65/0 at the end of the six powerplay overs.

The hitting was imaginative, but also clean as a warm Centurion afternoon and a traditional white ball flat track allowed the openers to hit through the line.

In being the aggressor, Markram was the first to get to his 50 off 25 balls with five fours and three sixes.

When he was castled by a Muhammad Nawaz (2/38) straight ball, his 31-ball knock had pushed South Africa to 108/1 in 10.4 overs, while the 100 was raised in exactly 10 overs.

Linde was pushed up to number three with good effect. His 11-ball innings contained one four and two sixes before he was bowled by Hassan Ali (1/47).

The fall of the two wickets allowed Malan to blossom in the senior role and he raised his 50 off 36 balls before he became Nawaz's second wicket when he holed out to Faheem Ashraf at short third-man while attempting a reverse paddle.

South Africa didn't have what would be called a slow-down, but when the 150 was raised in 15.2 over, there was a nagging feeling that the start could be frittered away.

In four overs and one ball, they crossed the 200 mark thanks to lusty hitting from Rassie van der Dussen (34*), Klaasen (15) and Andile Phehlukwayo (11).

Azam and Rizwan, though, had record-breaking ideas.

Source: News24

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