Irresistible Irfan helps Pakistan draw level
A tremendous opening burst from Mohammad Irfan set Pakistan on the way to a series-levelling six-wicket victory over South Africa at Centurion in the second one-day international of five.
Giant left-armer Irfan finished with 4-33 from seven overs, having accounted for Hashim Amla, Colin Ingram, AB de Villiers and Francois du Plessis during his one and only spell.
From 62 for five, the Proteas recovered to post 191 in a match reduced to 44 overs a side by rain, but Pakistan duly eased home with 28 deliveries to spare, thanks largely to an unbroken stand of 77 between Misbah-ul-Haq and Shoaib Malik.
South Africa chose to bat, but were quickly in trouble as Irfan had Amla and Ingram caught behind off successive balls, the latter following a successful review.
De Villiers was then held at slip and wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal claimed a third catch, this time off Junaid Khan, to dismiss Graeme Smith before Irfan accounted for du Plessis with a low return catch.
Farhaan Behardien did his best to keep the hosts afloat with a battling 58 and Robin Peterson was the last man out for 44 following an interruption that saw six overs trimmed from each team’s innings.
Pakistan lost Nasir Jamshed cheaply to Ryan McLaren in reply, yet were soon on course as Mohammad Hafeez and Younus Khan contributed scores of 31 and 32 respectively.
Although Peterson claimed the scalps of Kamran Akmal and Younus following Hafeez’s departure to Steyn, Pakistan were not to be denied and Misbah led by example with three sixes in his unbeaten 57.