ALL ROADS LEAD TO NEWLANDS
Usman Shinwari produced a devastating spell of reverse swing bowling to blow away the Standard Bank Proteas middle and lower order and put Pakistan on their way to a series-levelling eight-wicket win in the fourth Momentum ODI at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium on Sunday.
The seventh edition of the PinkDay ODI was the first one in which the Proteas had finished up on the losing side and they produced a performance that was well below par for this iconic occasion.
Shinwari took three wickets in four balls and overall four wickets in six balls spread over two overs that was key to a collapse that saw the Proteas lose eight wickets for 45 runs in 15 overs and were bowled out after only one over of the final power play.
The collapse was started by two unsung heroes in the two Pakistan spinners, Imad Wasim and Shadab Khan, who between them got rid of Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis who shared a third wicket partnership of 101.
In truth, it was a complete all-round performance by all five Pakistan bowlers, expertly directed by the experienced Shoaib Malik, Pakistan’s stand-in captain for the suspended Sarfraz Ahmed.
It had looked from the start as if it was not quite going to be the Proteas day after Quinton de Kock, playing his 100th ODI, was dismissed without scoring and then Reeza Hendricks was unlucky to be caught down the leg side behind the wicket. Both these wickets fell to Shaheen Afridi who had done a similar job to the Proteas top order in the Kingsmead match.
Amla (59 off 75 balls, 7 fours that included his 1 000th run against Pakistan in the ODI format) and Du Plessis (57 off 76 balls, 5 fours and a six) resisted for a while but that was as good as it got for the Proteas.
Pakistan put the possibility of a Proteas fightback to bed with an opening stand of 70 between Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman with the former consolidating his position as the leading runs scorer in the series before being dismissed with the scores level (71 off 91 balls, 6 fours and a six).
Shinwari was named Momentum Man of the Match.