Dwaine Pretorius produced the best ever figures by a South African in T20 Internationals as the Proteas levelled the series against Pakistan with a six-wicket victory in the second match in Lahore on Saturday.
Medium-pacer Pretorius wrecked the Pakistan innings, especially in the closing stages, as he claimed fabulous figures of five for 17 to restrict the home side to 144 for seven.
The Proteas then chased down that target with 22 balls to spare, the innings being built around the partnership of 77 for the third wicket between Reeza Hendricks and Pite van Biljon, who both scored 42.
Mohammad Rizwan was once again the mainstay of the Pakistan batting, but the superb spin bowling of Tabraiz Shamsi (4-0-16-1) and Smuts (4-0-20-0) kept the home side quiet in the middle overs.
The pressure told as Pretorius returned in the 14th over to dismiss Iftikhar Ahmed (20) and end the most threatening partnership of the Pakistan innings – 45 in 7.2 overs – with David Miller taking an excellent catch as the ball descended out of the foggy skies.
The all-rounder then claimed the big scalp of Rizwan in his next over, the in-form wicketkeeper mishitting a slower ball to be caught by long-off for 51 off 41 balls.
Pretorius ultimately claimed the fifth five-wicket haul for South Africa in T20 Internationals and his figures improved on the previous best performance of five for 19 by Ryan McLaren against the West Indies at North Sound in 2010. It was also the best ever display against Pakistan.
After their heroics in the field, South Africa did not take the gentle approach to chasing down their moderate target.
Hendricks and Van Biljon showed their experience by showing selective aggression. What was most impressive though was the intent they displayed against the spinners.
Usman Qadir dismissed Hendricks in the 12th over, but the opener’s 42 off 30 balls had already set South Africa well on the way to victory.
Even with Van Biljon falling in the next over for 42 off 32 deliveries, the experienced pairing of Miller (25* off 19) and captain Heinrich Klaasen (17* off 9) guided the Proteas home.
The deciding third match of the series will take place on Sunday in Lahore as well.