Pakistan’s cricket team had established an era of dominance in Twenty20 International cricket. From the 2016 series starting against England, Pakistan won 11 consecutive bilateral series, whitewashing West Indies (twice), Sri Lanka, Australia and New Zealand. They had established a record of chasing in 11 consecutive games. In 17 Twenty20 International games, they had lost just one game to New Zealand. After being thrashed in the Tests and losing out in the ODIs against South Africa, the Twenty20 series represented the last chance for Pakistan to end their tour on a high. However, the Proteas have ended Pakistan’s record run in fantastic style as they won the Johannesburg Twenty20 by seven runs on Sunday to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
Pakistan chose to bowl in the second game and they were thwarted by a 58-run stand for the first wicket between Reez Hendricks and Jaaneman Malan, the debutant. Malan fell for a solid 33 but Rassie van der Dussen revived the innings with a brilliant 45 off 27 balls, including four sixes and a boundary. However, David Miller, as he hurt Pakistan in the field in Cape Town, hurt them with the willow with a murderous display in the death overs. Usman Shinwari bore the brunt of Miller’s onslaught as he smashed three sixes and two fours in the final over which yielded 29 runs as South Africa ended on 188/3.
In response, Babar Azam started off like a train by smashing three boundaries in the first over bowled by Beuran Hendricks. After 14 runs in the first over, Azam hit three more boundaries off Chris Morris to smash 16 in the second over. Fakhar Zaman tried to break free but he fell for 14. Husain Talat joined Azam but there was no stopping him as Azam hit a third set of three boundaries, this time off Junior Dala.
The introduction of the spinners after the powerplay which yielded 70 runs in the powerplay slowed Pakistan down but Azam notched up his ninth fifty and he stepped up a gear by slamming Andile Phehlukwayo straight down the ground for his first six. Azam hit a hat-trick of boundaries for the fourth time as Pakistan stayed in the hunt. South Africa missed three run-outs as the pressure mounted. Azam neared a hundred while Talat smashed a couple of boundaries.
However, the 102-run stand was broken by Hendricks as Azam mistimed the off-cutter to wide long on to depart for 90. Pakistan’s chances took a further hit as Asif Ali (2) and Talat (55) were dismissed in quick succession. With 14 runs needed off the last over, Shoaib Malik hit a four but with nine needed off three, Phehlukwayo took two wickets to seal the contest.
South Africa now have a chance to achieve a 3-0 whitewash in the series. If South Africa achieve this, they will become the second team to inflict this humiliation on Pakistan after England did it in the 2015/16 series.