Pakistan leveled the five-match ODI series at 2-2 after securing a comprehensive eight-wicket win in the second ODI against South Africa in Johannesburg.
The Pink Day match at Jo’burg is special for South Africa as players and many spectators, dressed in pink, pledge their support for breast cancer awareness.
Also, Jo’burg has become a fortress of sorts in ODIs for South Africa having not lost a 50-over game there in seven years. But a four-wicket burst from left-arm paceman Usman Shinwari and another fine fifty by opener Imam-ul-Haq helped Pakistan first bowl out the Proteas for 164 before reaching target with more than 18 overs to spare.
It was a particularly impressive performance from Pakistan who were without regular skipper Sarfraz Ahmed who was handed a four-match suspension by the ICC for his racist remarks to South Africa all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo in the second match in Durban.
Here we take a look at the main talking points from the fourth ODI.
SHINWARI BREAKS SOUTH AFRICA’S BACK
South Africa's worst last 5 wickets collapses in ODIs:— Mazher Arshad (@MazherArshad) January 27, 2019
5-7 vs PAK, East London, 1993
5-7 vs PAK, Singapore, 2000
5-8 vs PAK, Johannesburg, today
All three by Pakistan's bowling! #RSAvPak
On a pitch that had some help for the bowlers, Pakistan bowlers kept South Africa batsmen on a tight leash from the get go.
Left-arm quick Shaheen Afridi got things rolling by getting the scalps of opener Quinton de Kock and one-down batsman Reeza Hendricks. However, it was fellow left-arm quick Usman Shinwari who broke South Africa’s back in an inspired spell with the older ball.
In the 38th over, with the Proteas 155-5, Shinwari accounted for in-form Rassie van der Dussen before getting Dale Steyn and Kagido Rabada off successive deliveries. Then off the first ball of his next over, Shinwari dismissed Phehlukwayo caught at slip to get four wickets in six balls. South Africa were bundled out for 164.
IMAM CONTINUES FINE FORM
Opener Imam-ul-Haq made it a point to silence his critics after reaching his century in the third ODI, later explaining that he had been unfairly targeted as he is the nephew of chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq. The left-handed opener survived a testing early spell and then blossomed as the inning progressed to score 71 from 91 balls and put the match beyond South Africa’s reach. It was his third fifty-plus score in four ODIs in the series.
Fellow opener Fakhar Zaman made a run-a-ball 44 to give the visitors an edge at the top of the order. With Pakistan’s middle order already having experience in Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik – the stand-in captain – their 50-over cricket looks in fine fettle.
JOHANNESBURG FORTRESS BREACHED
South Africa have a great record in Jo’Burg in ODIs. The last time they lost an ODI at the venue was in January 2012 against Sri Lanka. They had won seven straight ODIs thereafter and looked good to take a winning lead on Sunday.
However, Pakistan’s attack that had three left-arm quicks and one left-arm spinner blew the Proteas away to set up the series decider in Cape Town.
Another positive for Pakistan was that left-arm pacer Mohammad Amir took his first wicket in seven ODIs.
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