Last-ball victory for Pakistan
An imposing century from skipper Babar Azam spurred Pakistan to snatch a last-ball, three-wicket win over South Africa in the first ODI of a three-match series on Friday.
Man of the Match Azam scored 103 off 104 balls to lay the foundation for his side’s success at the Centurion as Pakistan scored 274 for seven in reply to South Africa’s 273 for six.
Rassie van der Dussen hit an unbeaten 123 for the home side after they were put into bat but his effort proved to be in vain.
Azam featured in a 177-run partnership for the second wicket with opener Imam-ul Haq, who scored 70.
The 26-year-old Azam produced a stunning array of strokes to emphasise his ranking as one of cricket’s top ODI batsmen.
The pair looked to have taken the game away from South Africa, although three quick wickets for Anrich Nortje put a temporary brake on Pakistan’s march as they slumped from 186 for two to 203 for five.
Forty runs for Mohamed Rizwan and Shadab Khan’s 33 put them back in charge and Pakistan needed just three runs off the last over to win.
But they made heavy weather of securing success before Faheem Ashraf secure a single off a wide delivery to secure victory.
Brief scores: South Africa 273/6 in 50 overs (R. Van der Dussen 123 n.o.; S. Afridi 2/61); Pakistan 274/7 in 50 overs (B. Azam 103, I. Haq 70; A. Nortje 4/51). Pakistan won by 3 wickets.