Lahore: Pakistan have defeated South Africa by four wickets in a series decider and claimed the T20I series 2-1 here at Gaddafi Stadium.
All-rounder Mohammad Nawaz and pacer Hasan Ali’s seventh-wicket partnership of unbeaten 32 led Pakistan to win with eight balls to spare.
Pakistan in 165 chase, started strongly with openers Mohammad Rizwan and Haider Ali provided a reliable 51-run stand.
The home side started to feel jitters as left-arm chinaman Tabraiz Shamsi removed Haider (15) on his first ball of the spell.
He didn’t stop as he dismissed Mohammad Rizwan and Hussain Talat in the following overs. Skipper Babar Azam from the other end continued to find gaps, however, his 44-run came to an end as last match hero Dwaine Pretorious clean bowled him.
Babar stroked five fours and a six in his 30-ball innings while Rizwan hit five fours and two sixes.
Shamsi was brought back to complete his quota of four overs and he removed Asif Ali (7) in the process. Faheem Ashraf (10) was the last man to dismiss in the 17th over.
Meanwhile, Nawaz (18*) remained calm and hit two fours off the 18th over while Hasan Ali (20*) smacked two massive sixes to chase down the target of 165.
It is Pakistan’s 100th win in T20I cricket, becoming first men’s team to reach this landmark in the short format of the game.
Earlier, South Africa’s veteran batsman David Miller smashed an unbeaten 85 to lead South Africa to 164/8 in 20 overs.
The 31-year-old Miller took Proteas to 164 after they were struggling at 65/7. In his 45-ball innings, he smacked five fours and seven towering sixes.
Pakistan opted to bowl first and controlled the proceedings (41/3) in the powerplay overs. Mohammad Nawaz took two wickets of Reeza Hendricks (2) and JJ Smuts (1) while Hasan Ali removed Pite van Bijlon (16).
Skipper Babar Azam introduced debutant Zahid Mehmood in the seventh over who took two wickets in first over of the T20I career while Usman Qadir removed Andile Phehlukwayo from the other end. The visitors were teetering on 48/6.
Proteas were hoping for a saviour to bring them back in the match and veteran Miller provided them with stability, scoring third fifty of his T20I career.
For Pakistan, Zahid finished with figures of 3/40 while Hasan and Nawaz took two wickets each. Note, both teams are level at 1-1.