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15-Apr-2021 03:44:00 GMT
SA vs Pak - 3rd T20I, Centurion

Babar, Rizwan blockbuster show in record run chase

Pakistan 205 for 1 (Azam 122, Rizwan 73*) beat South Africa 203 for 5 (Markram 63, Malan 55, Nawaz 2-38) by 9 wickets

Centurion: Pakistan took a 2-1 series lead as they defeated South Africa by nine wickets in the third T20I, registering their highest successful run chase in T20Is.

The architects of Pakistan's spectacular win were openers Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan – who shared a record 197-run opening stand.

It was primarily a Babar show as the Pakistan captain slammed his maiden T20I ton – becoming only the third batsman from his country to score a hundred in the format. It was also the fastest T20I century for Pakistan as Babar brought it up in just 49 balls.

He was brilliantly supported by Rizwan, who scored an unbeaten 73.

Earlier in the day, after being asked to bat, South Africa openers Aiden Markram and Janneman Malan gave them a sensational start, stitching together a 108-run partnership in just 10.3 overs.

The in-form Markram dispatched Hasan Ali for 4,4,6,4 to help Proteas reach fifty in the fifth over. The duo kept on with the onslaught against the Pakistani bowlers, who were kept under pressure since ball one. However, Markram perished to Mohammad Nawaz on 63.

George Linde received a promotion to bat at number three after his exploits in the second game. He was cruising at 22 off 11 but chopped one on to the stumps off Faheem Ashraf.

Malan reached his maiden fifty but fell soon after, giving Nawaz his second wicket. South Africa captain Heinrich Klaasen too departed quickly, losing his wicket after he inside-edged the ball onto the stumps.

In the death, Rassie van der Dussen (34*) and Phehlukwayo (11) joined forces to take South Africa to a daunting total of 203/5 in their 20 overs.

Halfway through the match, South Africa looked to have the upper hand but the Centurion’s record of being a ground difficult to defend at loomed above.

The South African fears came to life as the Pakistan openers, Babar and Rizwan manufactured a relentless opening partnership of 197 runs.

Babar scored his first T20I hundred on the same day when he overtook Virat Kohli to become the No.1 ODI batsman. His sensational knock of 122 runs from 59 deliveries was studded with 15 fours and four sixes and is the highest individual score for Pakistan in the format.

His partnership with Rizwan was broken in the 18th over by Lizaad Williams when Pakistan were just seven runs away from a victory.

They didn't have to wait long though as Fakhar Zaman slammed back-to-back fours to take Pakistan home.

The series now moves to its fourth and final T20I on 16 April.

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