Aiden Markram continues to impress at the top for the hosts, hitting his second half-century on the trot
South Africa 141 for 4 (Markram 54, Klaasen 36*, Qadir 2-26) beat Pakistan Azam 50, Linde 3-23, Williams 3-35) by six wickets
South Africa made light work in chasing down a below-par score to level the four-match T20I series against Pakistan, making it 1-1 with a six-wicket win with 36 balls in hand at the Wanderers.
George Linde starred in the first half, picking up the first three Pakistan wickets to restrict them to 140, and then scored an unbeaten 20 off ten balls to help South Africa polish off whatever was left of a small target after coming in with 49 to get. Linde opened the bowling, as he did in the first match, and struck twice in his opening spell and once in his second to finish with an impressive 3 for 23. He was supported well by his spin companion Tabraiz Shamsi, who also conceded at less than six runs an over, and left-arm seamer Beuran Hendricks. Sisanda Magala and Lizaad Williams were expensive but only one Pakistan batsman, Babar Azam, made a half-century, and there was only one half-century stand, between Azam and Mohammad Hafeez, for them.
South Africa started the chase strongly with Janneman Malan and Aiden Markram sharing a stand of 44 in 27 balls. Even though their middle-order wobbled, and they lost four wickets for 48 runs, Heinrich Klaasen and Linde did enough to see them through against a Pakistan attack that never seemed able to keep a lid on things.
The next two matches will be played at SuperSport Park, where Pakistan won both ODIs earlier on their tour.
Rizwan’s run-spree finally ends
South Africa might have been wondering how they would ever be rid of Mohammad Rizwan, but it took just one ball for it to happen in the second T20I. Rizwan danced down the track first ball of the Pakistan innings to hit Linde over long-on but skied the ball to Markram, who took a comfortable catch at mid-off. Rizwan’s dismissal ended a streak of ten consecutive scores of 40+ scores in T20s, which included a century and six fifties. Linde had more success in his next over when Sharjeel Khan, the other opener who replaced Fakhar Zaman for his first game in almost three years after returning from a spot-fixing ban, sliced across a ball to give Markram a second catch.
Aiden Markram brought up back-to-back half-centuries AFP/Getty Images
South Africa’s longest over
This is not a record anyone wants to have, but it now belongs to Magala, whose opening over lasted 12 balls, beating Dale Steyn’s 11-ball over against West Indies at the T20 World Cup in 2010. Magala started with two front-foot no-balls, followed by a high full-toss, and a wide yorker. His fifth delivery was another wide yorker, but legal, and Haider Ali hit it over short third-man for four. Magala’s next ball went for two through midwicket, before a wide down the leg side. His next three were all full on the stumps and Azam hit the last of them through third man for four before another wide, down leg. Magala’s over ended on its 12th ball, when Azam couldn’t get him away on the off side. In total, the over cost 18 runs. Magala’s second over was better, and he conceded just six runs, and his third was even better than that, with four runs and his first international wicket. He bowled the Pakistan captain with a ball in the slot on off stump that Azam swung at, and missed.
No singles, just fours
Wihan Lubbe has 16 international runs to his name but has not yet scored a single at the highest level. The hard-hitting No. 3 deals in boundaries and nothing else, at least on the evidence of his performance so far. In the first T20I, Lubbe pulled the first ball he faced, a short one from Hasan Ali, to the midwicket fence for four. Two balls later, he was too early on the drive down the ground and chipped a catch to cover. In this match, he sent the third ball he faced through mid-on for four with a piece of splendid timing, then chipped one over the leg side and then stuck his bat out to flip a full toss over backward square leg. But three boundaries in the over didn’t seem enough for Lubbe, who tried to hit the last ball over mid-on, but sent it straight to Azam instead.
Markram finds his white-ball flow
After struggling to transfer his domestic 50-over form to the international stage, Markram has managed to find his flow in the shortest format. He followed on from his first half-century on Sunday with another authoritative knock in this match. Markram’s first four came off the innings’ fourth ball, when he hit Shaheen Afridi through backward square. In the next over, he hit Mohammad Nawaz through the covers for four and over his head for six, and two overs after that, plundered Mohammad Hasnain for three fours, taking advantage of the short ball and some width. His six off Ali, over extra cover, was the most audacious shot of the innings while he brought up fifty when he hit Usman Qadir over midwicket. Makram holed out to long-on two balls later and would have been disappointed not to finish the game. For someone who was not even part of the squad initially, but stayed on when Temba Bavuma was ruled out, Markram has made the most of his opportunity.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent
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