CENTURION: South Africa won the third one-day international (ODI) against Pakistan by 13 runs after rain stopped play at SuperSport Park on Friday.
The interruption came after the 33rd over of South Africa´s innings as the home side chased down a 318-run target.
With DLS par score of 180 and South Africa standing at 187 for the loss of two wickets, the Proteas won against the Green Shirts by 13 runs.
Earlier, Imam-ul-Haq’s fifth ODI century inspired Pakistan to 317-6.
The Proteas will have their work cut out as they aim to make it 2-1 heading into the final two ODIs of the series, this after some well-measured top-order batting, helped along by a series of dropped catches.
The return of Dale Steyn and Quinton de Kock, together with the inclusion of debutant Beuran Hendricks, gave the hosts a welcome boost as Heinrich Klaasen, Duanne Olivier and Dane Paterson made way. Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed, embroiled in controversy after his comments aimed at Andile Phehlukwayo in the previous encounter on Tuesday, won the toss and chose to bat first.
The Proteas would be the first to strike, as the out-of-sorts Fakhar Zaman top-edged one right into the hands of Kagiso Rabada to depart for two, handing Hendricks his first ODI wicket.
That brought Babar Azam to the crease, who was handed a reprieve on nine, when Phehlukwayo failed to hold onto a regulation catch at mid-wicket. That proved costly, as Imam and Azam went about laying the foundations.
They built up a 100-run stand as Imam reached his half-century off 67 balls, but Steyn (2-43) would then strike, trapping Azam for 69 just as he appeared to be notching it up a couple of gears.
Imam continued to go about his business as he brought up a fifty stand with 38-year-old Mohammad Hafeez. Hafeez eased his way to a 36th ODI fifty.
Another crucial partnership-breaker followed, as Phehlukwayo made up for his early drop with a superb diving catch at mid-on to see off Hafeez for 52.
Imam, unperturbed by wickets falling around him, became the second-quickest to 1000 ODI runs in history when he went past 90, his 19 innings bettered only by his opening partner Zaman, who achieved it in 17 knocks.
Then came another drop as David Miller spilt a tough one with Shoaib Malik on three. It was the sort of luck Tabraiz Shamsi needed to go his way, as he struggled with figures of 1-75 from his nine overs.
Imam then brought up his century off 114 balls, silencing his critics back home with a hush gesture to the Pakistan dugout. With the pressure somewhat off, Imam proceeded to go for a big one two balls later, only to hole out to Rassie van der Dussen at deep extra cover.
Dropped catches continued to hamper the hosts, with Reeza Hendricks dropping Imad Wasim on 24. Wasim would go on to score a crucial 43 off 23 balls, which included seven fours.
Wasim was there at the end, and together with Sarfraz Ahmed they scored 12 runs off the final Rabada (2-57) over to get their side to 317-6.
Pakistan beat South Africa in the first ODI at St George’s Park as Imamul Haq and Mohammad Hafeez set up a five-wicket win, but South Africa bounced back in the next ODI in Durban with Hendrick ‘Rassie’ van der Dussen and Andile Phehlukwayo securing a series-levelling win at Kingsmead.
The Proteas have made three changes to the squad: Dale Steyn and Quinton de Kock are back, replacing Duanne Olivier and Heinrich Klaasen, while Dane Paterson has been replaced by in-form left-arm seamer Beuran Hendricks who will be making his debut.
For Pakistan Imad Wasim and Mohammad Amir are back in the playing XI.
Pakistan’s build-up to the game had been marred by skipper Sarfraz Ahmed making alleged racist remarks towards South Africa all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo in Tuesday’s match, in which Phehlukwayo took four wickets and hit an unbeaten 69. Sarfraz issued a general apology on Twitter and insisted his remarks were not directed to anyone in particular.