Reeza Hendricks led a dominant Standard Bank Proteas batting performance after they had been a bit flat in the field to set up a 13-run victory over Pakistan via the DLS method in the third Momentum One-Day International at SuperSport Park on Friday.
The Proteas now lead the series 2-1 with two matches still to be played.
Momentum Man of the Match Hendricks (83 not out off 90 balls, 8 fours and 2 sixes) seemed certain to score his second ODI century until the rain intervened for the second time in the match. His partnership with Faf du Plessis (40 not out off 42 balls, 3 fours and a six) had realized a partnership of 108 for the third wicket in 19 overs.
At that stage the target of 130 in 17 overs with eight wickets in hand was a moderate one by T20 standards as the two batsmen had the chase well in hand.
What was particularly impressive was the way they handled the Pakistan spin bowlers which is something that is going to be very important as the World Cup approaches.
Earlier, Pakistan had set a target of 318 thanks to a fifth career century by Imam-ul-Haq (101 off 116 balls, 8 fours), who shared important stands of 132 in 23 overs with Babar Azam (69 off 72 balls, 7 fours and a six) and 84 in 12 overs with Mohammed Hafeez (52 off 45 balls, 6 fours and a six).
In the process Imam became the second fastest player ever to score 1 000 ODI runs (19 innings) with the only better effort being the 18 innings of his opening batting partner, Fakhar Zaman.
Dale Steyn (2/43 in 10 overs) was by far the pick of the South African attack that included a debutant in Beuran Hendricks, who shared the new ball with Steyn.
The Proteas produced a mixed bag effort in the field, dropping five catches, counter-balanced to some extent by two brilliant efforts by Andile Phehlukwayo and David Miller. Any goalkeeper would have been proud of the former effort while Miller sprinted more than 20 metres before diving to pluck his effort centimetres off the ground.
The life given to Babar, who has been the heart beat of Pakistan’s batting throughout the tour, on 9 was particularly important while Imam was also given a let-off.
The series now moves on to the Bidvest Wanderers on Sunday for the iconic Pink Day ODI (10h00 start CAT).