Disciplined Pakistan upstage South Africa

Pakistan produced disciplined cricket to upstage South Africa by six wickets in the third day-night international in Faisalabad on Tuesday, to take a 2-1 lead in the series.

Rao Iftikhar made a career-best 3-33 and leg-spinner Shahid Afridi 3-37 to restrict the tourists to 197 all out. Mohammad Yousuf then hit an unbeaten snail-paced 58 off 113 balls to help Pakistan reach 202-4 in 48.1 overs.

Yousuf added an invaluable 79 runs for the fourth wicket with captain Shoaib Malik (42) to set up the victory. Yousuf hit just one boundary in his 104-ball half-century, but stayed until the victory was achieved.

It followed a contrasting cameo by Afridi, who enthralled a packed 16 000-strong crowd at Iqbal Stadium with a rapid-fire 32. Afridi gave Pakistan a fiery start as he hit two sixes and four boundaries in his 18-ball knock before Pakistan lost three quick wickets.

Afridi’s ferocious shot off Shaun Pollock was well held at mid-off by Smith before Yasir Hameed (18) fell to Makhaya Ntini and Younis Khan (10) was caught behind off Albie Morkel.

Morkel also broke the Malik-Yousuf stand, but with only 51 needed for victory it was too late as Misbah-ul Haq (29 not out) helped Yousuf complete the formality.

Earlier, Iftikhar shared six wickets between them to derail South Africa, who won the toss and decided to bat on a pitch with variable bounce and slow turn.

Afridi dismissed Jacques Kallis (13), Justin Kemp (42) and Shaun Pollock (one) to trigger a middle-order slump from which they could not recover.

South Africa, reduced to 77-3 in 20 overs, was lifted by captain Graeme Smith (48) and Kemp, who shared a fourth-wicket stand of 45 off 75 deliveries — but they never looked in command.

Herschelle Gibbs, who scored a century in the first match, fell in the ninth over when he edged Umar Gul to wicketkeeper after scoring 19.

Gibbs, on 10, completed 7 000 one-day runs to become only the second South African behind Kallis to achieve the milestone.

Kallis, who made eight and nought in the first two matches, failed once again as he miscued a drive off Afridi and was well caught in the covers by Misbah-ul Haq for 13.

AB de Villiers, the best South Africa batsman in the series with 103 not out and 35, made just 17 before his uppish drive off Iftikhar was smartly snapped up by Afridi at mid-wicket.

Smith and Kemp steadied the innings, taking the score to 122. Smith, who remained on 18 for 10 overs, was run out in the 33rd over when he failed to beat a throw from Shoaib Malik to the striker’s end. Kemp hit two sixes to raise the tempo before he went for a third only to be bowled by Afridi in the 42nd over.

Iftikhar returned for his second spell, removing Albie Morkel (12) and Charl Langeveldt (four) to better his 3-44 he took against the West Indies at Kingston during the 2007 World Cup in March this year.

South Africa lost Mark Boucher (17) to spinner Abdul Rehamn as the tourists lost their last six wickets for just 35 runs.

The fourth match will be played at Multan on Friday. — Sapa-AFP

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