Pakistan survived a late-overs blitz from Chris Morris who smashed 55 off 29 balls as they ended their tour of South Africa on a high with a tense 27-run win in the final Twenty20 International at Supersport Park, Centurion on Wednesday. The victory by Pakistan ensured they ended the tour with some respectability after being whitewashed 3-0 in the Tests and losing 2-3 in the five-match ODI series. In the first two games, they lost by narrow margins as their winning streak in the shortest format of the game was brought to an abrupt end by the Proteas. However, the winning margin owed a lot to Shadab Khan’s all-round exploits, particularly his batting in the death overs.
South Africa chose to bowl but Pakistan once again started well, with Babar Azam smashing four boundaries in one over bowled by Junior Dala. However, Azam’s knock of 23 was ended when he gave a catch straight to cover point off Morris. Fakhar Zaman kept the aggression going with a four and six off Lutho Sipamla but with his dismissal, Pakistan lost momentum. Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Rizwan tried to steady the innings but with their quick dismissals, South Africa held the upper hand.
Asif Ali (25) struck a couple of big hits but Beuran Hendrics produced a fabulous spell in the last couple of overs to finish with 4/14 from four overs. In the final over, Pakistan needed a last-over boost and they got it from Shadab as he blasted three sixes off Andile Phehlukwayo as 21 runs came in the final over. Pakistan got much-needed momentum from the onslaught to finish with 168/9.
Imad Wasim and Shaheen Afridi got the crucial breakthroughs at the start to dent South Africa. After the end of the powerplay, the Proteas had scored 30 runs in seven overs and Rassie van der Dussen got some treatment after copping a blow to his helmet from a short ball from Afridi. However, van der Dussen and Miller struck some big blows, with David Miller smashing Mohammad Amir for two boundaries. Van der Dussen smashed Shadab for two sixes but with Miller falling to Shadab for 13 and Faheem Ashraf getting rid of van der Dussen for 41, Pakistan once again seized the advantage.
With Shadab getting rid of Phehlukwayo, it seemed the game was up but Morris had other ideas. He blasted three fours and a six off Ashraf in the 14th over to keep South Africa in the hunt. However, wickets tumbled at the other end and Morris found no support. He smashed two more sixes to reach his fifty off 28 balls but in the end, Pakistan secured a much-needed win on what has been a really tough tour for them.