PAKISTAN unearthed yet another fast bowling talent in the 22-year-old Bilawal Bhatti as they beat the Blue Label Telecom Proteas by six runs at Sahara Park Newlands on Friday evening to square the two-match KFC T20 International Series at 1-1.
Bilawal might not have got a game had the giant Mohammed Iran been fit enough to undertake the tour but he has taken his chance well after making his international debut in the previous match at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium on Wednesday evening.
He bowled two crucial spells to finish with the most economical figures of the match by conceding only 19 runs in his first four overs. With a bit of luck he might have got a wicket as well as he showed clever changes of pace, particularly when he opted for his short-pitched delivery, and also bowled some excellent full length deliveries.
He generates good pace and has, in fact, taken more than 200 wickets in his 49 first-class appearances.
Bilawal’s first spell of two overs for eight runs came in support of Shahid Afridi who inflicted mortal damage by taking 3/11 off 16 balls, his victims being the key scalps of Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers.
Once again the Pakistan spinners played a major role with Afridi taking 3/28 in four overs in spite of going for 15 in his last over, the recalled Saeed Ajmal 1/30 in his four and Mohammed Hafeez 0/26 in three.
Hafeez played a major role in the victory as he shared a Pakistan record for any wicket against South Africa of 102 in 9.1 overs with Umar Akmal. Hafeez contributed 63 off 41 balls (5 fours and 3 sixes) and Akmal 64 off 37 balls (5 fours and 4 sixes).
Apart from Dale Steyn (2/29 in 4 overs) all the Proteas bowlers were on the receiving end although Morne Morkel had a good finishing over – the 18th – that only went for three runs and kept the target down to slightly more manageable proportions.
Pakistan’s total of 176 was the second highest at Sahara Park Newlands, only being beaten by England’s 188 against Zimbabwe at the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 in 2007.
Hashim Amla (48 off 40 balls, 5 fours) and JP Duminy (47 not out off 26 balls, 3 fours and 2 sixes) were the chief contributor to the South African reply.
In the process Duminy took his tally of sixes in this international format to 34 to be joint level with Albie Morkel as the Proteas leading boundary clearer.