Brilliant half-centuries from Graeme Smith and Shaun Pollock helped South Africa win the fourth one-day international against Pakistan by seven wickets on Friday to level the five-match series 2-2.
Pakistan’s total of 230-9, built around a fighting 110-ball 82 from Younis Khan, had looked respectable, but Smith (81) and Pollock (90) added 159 runs for the second-wicket stand to help their team reach 233-3 in 37.4 overs.
It was Smith and Herschelle Gibbs (39) who put on a brisk 65 for the first wicket to provide the perfect platform for the chase, which left a packed crowd at Multan Stadium disappointed.
When Gibbs was trapped leg-before by leg-spinner Shahid Afridi in the 11th over, Pollock was sent as pinch-hitter to counter Pakistan’s potent spin bowling.
He and Smith, dropped on 74 by Umar Gul off his own bowling, took the game away from Pakistan before Pollock fell with just seven needed to win and Smith when just three were needed.
All-rounder Pollock hit nine boundaries and a six during his 84-ball knock, while Smith hit seven boundaries during his 103-ball stay.
Earlier, Younis held the Pakistan innings together with captain Shoaib Malik (45), adding an invaluable 91 runs for the fourth wicket after Pakistan won the toss and decided to bat.
Pakistan lost Shahid Afridi (nought), Yasir Hameed (10) and Mohammad Yousuf (five) by the 12th over in a shaky start.
Malik was more aggressive, hitting four boundaries during his 54-ball knock until Jacques Kallis broke the stand when Malik’s miscued drive was well caught by skipper Smith at mid-off.
Nel, who replaced Charl Langeveldt in one of two changes the tourists made, struck twice in the 38th over to leave Pakistan at 159-6.
Pakistan had a disastrous start to their innings, losing opener Afridi in the second over. Afridi miscued a lofted shot off Makhaya Ntini and was caught at mid-on.
Hameed was the next to go, failing to keep a drive off Shaun Pollock down and was held by a diving Gibbs at short mid-wicket.
Mohammad Yousuf, Pakistan’s most successful batsman in the one-day series with scores of 53, 117 and 58, did not last long. He failed to beat Johan Botha’s throw from the deep while returning for a second run.
It was then left to Younis and Malik to repair the early damage, but when Younis departed it seemed the home team would not reach 200.
Kamran Akmal (29) and Abdul Rehman (31) gave impetus to the innings through a seventh-wicket stand that yielded 60 runs.
Rehman hit three boundaries while Akmal smashed two boundaries and a six to help Pakistan add 50 in the last five overs.
South Africa won the first match by 45 runs, while Pakistan won the second and third by 25 runs and six wickets respectively.
The fifth and final one-day will be played in Lahore on Monday. — AFP