Pakistan’s unbelievable hara-kiri from a position of strength has handed over a series win for an always active and alert South Africa. The homeside was cruising along at one stage at 149 for 2 with plenty of overs and batting left in a chase of 234. The South Africans were never giving it up and held all the half chances that came their way as Pakistan hit the panic button quite needlessly. Pak lost its last five wickets fell for just 20 runs in the space of 36 balls to throw away the match and also the series. The Proteas clinched the decider at the Gaddafi Stadium by 14 runs to win the series 3-2.
The Man of the Match could have been Shoaib Akhtar, who made a strong comeback taking four wickets. But his ambitious lofted shot off the first ball he had faced with 14 runs to win with one wicket in hand was enough to spoil his efforts with the ball. The Man of the Match was instead Makhaya Ntini, who also finished with four wickets. The Man of the Series was the only consolation for Pakistan with Mohammad Yousuf getting it.
Pakistan’s bowling attack looked depleted without Umar Gul and Mohammad Asif in this match. Shoaib Akhtar with his impressive comeback made sure that the Pakistan’s new look attack wasn’t exposed. Akhtar got a wicket off the third ball of the match getting Graeme Smith to play on, he almost had his second wicket but for a dropped catch from Kamran Akmal that gave a life to Kallis. Pakistan were made to pay for that with Kallis anchoring the innings by making 86 from 130 with 4 fours and a six. Gibbs laid the foundation with Kallis making 54 from 61 with 10 fours. Later on, Kallis found an able partner in Jean-Paul Duminy (44 from 64 with 3 fours and a six) to carry the innings forward which was jolted down by Shoaib Akhtar. The other two pacers Iftikhar Anjum and Sohail Tanvir complemented him well to restrict SA to 233 for 9. This was after SA had decided to bat first having won the toss.
Makhaya Ntini came out with a couple of wickets with the new ball but his efforts looked to have gone in vain because of a smooth partnership from Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf. Both batsmen put on 106 for the third wicket before Younis Khan (58 from 65 with 7 fours) was caught at the boundary trying to pull Pollock out of the ground. Yousuf (53 from 88 wuth 5 fours) joined his partner back in the hut after getting caught behind playing a cute shot. The match was well under the control of Pakistan with just another 74 to win with six wickets in hand. However, due to some atrocious shot selections which was taken advantage of a brilliant fielding performance from the visitors shut the door of victory for Pak. Albie Morkel was instrumental in SA’s shock victory by taking four out of the last six wickets to fall. The turning point of the match that most people would agree is the unbelievable catch taken by AB de Villiers who had to run backwards and throw himself dangerously to take a miscued hit from Shahid Afridi safely. AB de Villiers as such had a bad bruise on his arm but that didn’t stop him in giving his everything for the catch that won the match.