Cape Town: South Africa clinched the one-day series against Pakistan on Wednesday with a comfortable seven-wicket victory in the decisive final game.
Captain Faf du Plessis and newcomer Rassie van der Dussen saw South Africa home at Newlands and to a 3-2 series win. Both men finished on 50 not out and the home team eased to 241-3 and past Pakistan’s 240-8 with 10 overs to spare.
It was a series both teams viewed with importance with the Cricket World Cup starting in May.
Van der Dussen continued his successful start to international cricket with his third half-century in four innings in his debut ODI series. He clubbed a six to go to his 50 and win the game.
His unbroken 95-run partnership with du Plessis took South Africa across the line but opener Quinton de Kock set it up with his rapid 83 from 58 balls at the top of the order. De Kock flayed 11 fours and three sixes after being given a life when he was caught off a no-ball when on 12.
While wicketkeeper-batsman de Kock underlined his value to South Africa’s 50-over team, van der Dussen and allrounder Andile Phehlukwayo likely made the biggest impressions through the series.
Phehlukwayo continued his strong form with 2-42 with his seam bowling in the final game. His wickets were opener Fakhar Zaman, who top-scored for Pakistan with 70, and the experienced Mohammad Hafeez for 17. Phehlukwayo took those two wickets in quick succession to slow Pakistan in the middle overs.
Imad Wasim made late runs for his 47 not out off 31 deliveries to get Pakistan to 240 but it wasn’t enough to stop South Africa winning a seesaw series. South Africa was 1-0 down, then 2-1 up before Pakistan leveled and sent it to a decider in Cape Town.
Pakistan’s campaign was interrupted when captain Sarfraz Ahmed was banned and sent home for a racist on-field comment aimed at Phehlukwayo earlier in the series. He missed the last two games.
South Africa also won the Test series, although that contest was a 3-0 whitewash.