South Africa 141 for 4 (Markram 54, Klaasen 36*, Qadir 2-26) beat Pakistan 140 for 9 (Azam 50, Linde 3-23, Williams 3-35) by six wickets
Johannesburg: Afifty from Aiden Markram and valuable contributions with the ball from George Linde and Lizaad Williams inspired South Africa to a six-wicket series-levelling victory against Pakistan in the second T20I in Johannesburg on Monday.
Linde returned a crucial 3/23 and played his part in three further dismissals to help restrict Pakistan to 140/9 after they had opted to bat. Aiden Markram's explosive century – a second fifty on the trot – helped South Africa see out the chase with as many as six overs to spare.
Pakistan suffered a blow moments before toss when the explosive opener Fakhar Zaman was ruled out with what reports suggest was an allergic reaction. Sharjeel Khan, making his first appearance for Pakistan in four years, took his place, but the visitors got off to a poor start and never really recovered.
George Linde caused the visiting batsmen a lot of problems. With hthe very first delivery of the match, he had Mohammad Rizwan – Pakistan's match-winner in the first T20I – caught at mid-off. He then had Sharjeel Khan dismissed in similar fashion in his next over, reducing Pakistan to 10/2 within three overs.
Captain Babar Azam was veteran Mohammad Hafeez looked to put Pakistan’s innings back on track, combining for 58 runs for the third wicket to first revive and then accelerate the total. Pakistan were, however, 68/3 in the 11th over when Linde returned to induce the edge off Hafeez (32).
From there on, the wickets fell regularly. Haider Ali (12), Faheem Ashraf (5) and, Hasan Ali (12) were all dismissed for minimal impact, even as Azam brought up a watchful half-century at the other end.
Pakistan were kept to just 11 runs in the last two overs, with Lizaad Williams and Sisanda Magala building on the good work to ensure no easy runs were given.
South Africa had little trouble in the chase. They got off to a flyer with Janneman Malan and Aiden Markram putting on 44 in under five overs. They laid the foundation for the chase in the Powerplay, and despite Hasan Ali snaring Malan for 15, South Africa weren't to be stopped.
Markram continued on the offensive, and despite losing Wihan Lubbe fell to Mohammad Hasnain in the next over, he continued attacking. He brought up his fifty in style, despatching Usman Qadir for a six. Four balls later, Qadir exacted revenge as Markram mistimed one straight to long-on. Pite van Biljon fell to Qadir too, but South Africa weren't to be denied.
Requiring just 48 runs from nine overs, captain Heinrich Klassen and Linde applied the finishing touches to help guide South Africa to an important victory.