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Bowlers on top as Pakistan level series

Pakistan levelled the one-day international series against South Africa with a low-scoring 66-run victory at Dubai in the second game.

Ahmed Shehzad’s fourth ODI fifty was the only significant score as Pakistan made a seemingly below-par 209 all out, but three wickets each for Shahid Afridi and Mohammad Irfan helped skittle the tourists for 143 with 9.2 overs to spare.

It leaves the five-match series tied at 1-1, with the third clash taking place on Wednesday in Abu Dhabi.

Other than Shehzad’s patient 58, no Pakistan batsman passed 26 - a score reached by both Afridi and Mohammad Hafeez - as the South Africa attack kept the run rate down.

Ryan McLaren and Morne Morkel shared seven wickets and conceded 72 runs from their combined 20 overs as they denied their opponents the chance to build a big partnership, with Shehzad and Misbah’s-ul-Haq’s stand of 60 the only one to reach a half-century.

Pakistan-born Imran Tahir also proved difficult to play, conceding just 28 runs and taking one wicket from his allotted overs.

But South Africa’s batsmen failed to build on their bowler’s disciplined work, with only three players reaching 20 and not one going on to 30.

Saeed Ajmal removed Graeme Smith and Lonwabo Tsotsobe to become the joint leading ODI wicket-taker of the year.

The only real resistance was offered by McLaren, who added an unbeaten 29 to his four-wicket haul. Coming to the crease with his side 73 for five in the 25th over - which was soon 83 for six as David Miller was trapped lbw by Mohammad Hafeez - he carried his bat with a gutsy 43-ball innings.

But other than Wayne Purnell’s near run-a-ball 21, the tail failed to offer McLaren any support and Afridi rounded off the victory in his sixth over, beating Tahir’s defensive strike to allow Umar Akmal to complete the stumping.