By BV Swagath
For once, Pakistan batting clicked to help the visitors win the Second T20I at Cape Town by 6 runs to draw the 2-match Series on Friday. Mohammad Hafeez and Umar Akmal played spectacular knocks to set up Pakistan’s victory on a pitch that was slow but bouncy.
Batting first after winning the toss, Pakistan started off slowly before the 3rd wicket pair of Hafeez and Akmal got together with the score at 44 for 2 in the 8th over. SA’s back up seam options performed poorly to release the pressure on the visitors. Hafeez and Akmal took left-arm spinner Aaron Phangiso to the cleaners with three sixes in an over. After that there was no looking back, especially for Umar Akmal who stayed almost till the end to take Pakistan to 176 for 4. Even Morne Morkel for his pace wasn’t spared by the little man.
Umar Akmal scored 64 from just 37 balls with 5 fours and 4 sixes. Skipper Mohammad Hafeez scored 63 from 41 balls with 5 fours and 3 sixes. SA went along nicely in their run chase with the openers putting on 58 in 7.1 overs. Quinton de Kock scored 26 from 24 balls while the other opener Hashim Amla was sheet anchoring the SA innings. Amla consumed 40 balls to score 48 from 5 fours which wasn’t the ideal knock for the hosts as the required run rate simply piled up.
With Skipper Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers falling cheaply, the onus was on the left-handed pair of JP Duminy and David Miller to pull off the run chase. The pair tried their best but in the end were left to get 17 runs from the final over in which Sohail Tanvir gave them no chance by coming up with superb yorkers. Duminy ended up with 47* from 26 balls with 3 fours and 2 sixes. Miller scored 22* from 13 balls while the hosts finished with 170 for 4, six runs short of Pakistan.
Shahid Afridi was the best bowler for Pakistan taking 3 for 28 in his 4 overs. Speedster Bilawal Bhatti was quite impressive going for just 19 in his 4 overs by mixing the short balls with yorkers. Pakistan Captain in this format – Mohammad Hafeez bagged both the Man of the Match and the Player of the Series awards.