Two vital late wicket-taking spells by Dale Steyn gave the Castle Lager Proteas a deserved 28-run win against Pakistan in the fourth ODI at Abu Dhabi on Friday. With the victory South Africa take the series 3-1 with one match to play.
At one point it looked as though Pakistan would chase down the Proteas’ 266/5 with relative ease but first Steyn accounted for the dangerous Sohail Maqsood (56) and Sohail Tanvir (1), before returning to capture the prize scalp of the pugnacious Misbah ul-Haq (65) late in the day. He wrapped up his spell by taking the wickets of Umar Akmal and Saeed Ajmal as the Pakistani innings nosedived from a promising position to abject capitulation.
Steyn finished with remarkable figures of 10-1-25-5. He was well-supported by Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Morne Morkel and a splendid fielding and catching performance in an impressive all-round team effort.
South Africa’s solid 266 was built on the impressive foundation of Quinton de Kock’s 112, his maiden ODI century.
De Kock can favour the leg-side but it was his off-side play – his cover and square-driving – that was impressive today. He was dropped by Mohammed Hafeez off Tanvir on two but other than this early blemish he looked to be in sublime touch. He hammered some of his shots, caressed others, combining in an opening stand of 87, Hashim Amla contributing a polished 46.
While Faf du Plessis (10) and David Miller (five) failed, AB de Villiers scored a breezy 30, while Ryan McLaren and JP Duminy blazed at the end. Sometimes they were audacious, sometimes they were imperious, but throughout the Pakistanis looked slightly bedraggled. Theirs was not the most professional bowling and fielding performance ever seen.
For the men in a darker shade of green, Junaid Khan and Hafeez were the two most successful bowlers. Junaid accounted for the dangerous De Villiers and also picked up a tiring De Kock, well caught low down by Misbah at mid-off off a slower ball. Hafeez bowled Amla and later, had Miller trapped leg before. It was an economical piece of bowling, useful while his fast-bowling colleagues were visibly tiring.