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24-Mar-2013 16:00:00 GMT
South Africa v Pakistan, 5th ODI, Benoni

De Villiers Help Proteas in Series Win

Benoni: Riding on AB de Villiers' unbeaten 95, South Africa beat Pakistan by six wickets in the fifth and final one-day international at Willowmoore Park on Sunday to win the five-match series 3-2.

AB hit 95 not out to improve to three half-centuries and a century in the five games in the series, ensuring South Africa overtook Pakistan's 205 and finished its international season at home on a high ahead of the Champions Trophy, the main limited-overs tournament of 2013.

De Villiers' key 87-run partnership with Farhaan Behardien (35) moved South Africa away from signs of trouble at 83-3 and to an eventually easy win at Willowmoore Park in Benoni.

Mohammad Irfan took 2-38 but De Villiers finished with a four off Wahab Riaz as South Africa went to 208-4 and won with six overs to spare.

Earlier, Ryan McLaren took three wickets in 13 balls to spark a Pakistan collapse.

Pakistan struggled to 205 all out after being reasonably placed at 151 for four in the 35th over handing the initiative to the hosts in the winner takes all match.

McLaren had Shoaib Malik caught at midwicket and three balls later, with the last delivery before the batting power play, he had big-hitting Shahid Afridi caught at deep square leg without scoring.

As he had in Durban, Misbah started cautiously and he had scored only 24 runs off 46 balls when he was caught behind to become McLaren's third victim.

McLaren finished with three for 32, with all his wickets coming in a three-over third spell which cost only five runs.

For the first time this season, South Africa fielded their two leading strike bowlers, Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, in their one-day international team.

The pair had been rotated during a series against New Zealand and Morkel missed the first four matches against Pakistan because of a hamstring injury.

Although Steyn and Morkel only took one and two wickets respectively, they contributed to a much-improved South African bowling performance.

Despite an innings of 48 off 51 balls by Kamran Akmal, and a third wicket stand of 66 between Akmal and Younis Khan (29) the Pakistanis were unable to dominate the bowling at any stage during their innings after Misbah won the toss and decided to bat.

South Africa were without opening batsman and Test captain Graeme Smith because of what was described as a chronic left ankle injury which kept him off the field for most of Pakistan's run chase in Durban.

Brief scores
205 (Kamran Akmal 48, McLaren 3-32)
South Africa 208 for 4 (de Villiers 95*)
Result South Africa won by 6 wickets
MOM AB de Villiers (South Africa)
Player of the series AB de Villiers (South Africa)

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