A special all-round performance with bat and ball by Nida Dar proved key as Pakistan began the five-match Twenty20 Series against the Proteas Women with a comfortable, seven-wicket victory at Assupol Tuks Oval in Pretoria on Wednesday.

The all-rounder first claimed a key 2/30 to help the tourists restrict their hosts to 119/7, before she struck a career-best 53 off 37 balls (7 fours, 2 sixes) to comfortably launch her side to their target with a full two overs to spare.

There were also three wickets for Sana Mir after she delivered the best performance of the day with the ball by bagging a brilliant 3/14 in four overs, while Pakistan’s captain Bismah Maroof completed a polished showing by the Asians with 53 (48 balls, 4 fours) of her own.

The top score for the South Africans came from vice-captain Chloe Tryon, although her 43 off 31 balls lacked support – ultimately leading to a big defeat.

It ensured a solid start to the T20s for the tourists, who did the same in the shared One-Day International series, which they began with a resounding eight-wicket win and eventually ended 1-1 after South Africa hit back.

Pakistan were in control for most of the game too, and after winning the toss and bowling, Mir struck twice in the opening over.

The off-break bowler got both openers Lizelle Lee and Tazmin Brits for ducks leaving the score on 2/1, which became 12/3 when Dar got Marizanne Kapp for 10 in the fifth over.

Mignon du Preez (23) tried to rebuild but soon became Mir’s third victim, while more quick wickets meant the local girls fell into a deep hole by the end of the 14th over on 61/6.

Tryon and Shabnim Ismail (20 not out) then managed to raise their spirits as they posted what appeared to be a competitive 120.

Kapp (1/17) and Tumi Sekhukhune (1/18) gave the South Africans some hope when they claimed two early wickets that left the opposition on 29/2, but the third-wicket, Dar-Maroof partnership of 89 knocked the stuffing out of them and put the visitors 1-0 up in the series.

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