A brilliant, unbeaten 95 from AB de Villiers led the Proteas to a convincing six-wicket victory in the final Momentum ODI at Sahara Willowmoore Park on Sunday, allowing the home side to claim the series 3-2.
Pakistan captain Misbah ul Haq won the toss and chose to bat first but not a single one of his team could reach 50, a fact which only emphasised how emphatically different in class De Villiers was to the rest. The tourists stumbled to 205 all out with Ryan McLaren claiming his third three-wicket haul of the series and the Castle Lager Proteas passing the target with six wickets and six overs to spare.
Kamran Akmal top scored for Pakistan with a breezy 48 from 51 balls but a top-edged sweep against Robin Peterson ended realistic hopes of a 270+ total.
Nonetheless, Younis Khan (29) and Misbah (24) worked hard to re-establish a platform on which a competitive score could be built and, at 151-4 with 16 overs remaining, 250 was still a possibility.
Shoaib Malik (28) drove a brilliantly disguised McLaren slower ball to extra cover and Shahid Afridi was caught on the deep square leg boundary for a third-ball duck in the same over to wreck the innings. Misbah, too, fell to McLaren at 161-7 and it was left to the bowlers to scrape together enough to crawl beyond 200.
Quinton de Kock looked uncomfortable against an opening spell of extreme pace and disconcerting bounce from Mohammad Irfan and Junaid Khan and was bowled for three from 12 balls while Colin Ingram (15) was bowled by off-spinner Mohammad Hafeez.
Hashim Amla drew the sting of the pace attack with a grimly determined, defensive innings of 22 from 65 balls while De Villiers looked as though he was playing a different game, on a different surface, to everyone else. His 50 arrived from just 53 deliveries.
Amla top-edged a hook against Irfan with the total on 83-3 but Farhaan Behardien played his most telling innings for South Africa to date with a mature, aggressive innings of 35 from just 36 balls during a partnership of 87 with De Villiers which effectively won the match.
There was time for David Miller to smite a six and a four in an unbeaten, run-a-ball 20 but there was no doubt about the Momentum man of the match, or the Momentum man of the series. De Villiers scored 367 runs at an average of 91.75 with a century and three 50s in five matches.