Amla and de Villiers put Proteas in the pink
Centuries from Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers powered South Africa to a 34-run win over Pakistan at the Wanderers, putting the hosts 2-1 up in the five-game series with two to play.
Amla and de Villiers justified their status as the highest-ranked batsmen in one-day internationals with a record third-wicket stand of 238, which came at almost eight runs an over.
It aided an imperious score of 343 for five, of which Amla made 122 and de Villiers 128. Despite Shahid Afridi flaying a 48-ball 88, the tourists fell short of equalling their highest second innings in an ODI that they needed for victory.
Pakistan, who the toss, were without the injured Umar Gul, with Wahab Riaz coming in, but fellow seamer Mohammad Irfan overcame a hamstring strain to feature. The Proteas, wearing pink to promote awareness of breast cancer, preferred Rory Kleinveldt to Kyle Abbott.
Soon Irfan forced Graeme Smith to play on and when he had Colin Ingram caught behind, South Africa were 42 for two in the 14th over.
Mohammad Hafeez shelled Amla at backward point on 36 and the top-ranked batsman went on to reach three figures from 99 deliveries shortly before de Villiers’ hundred arrived from 12 less.
Riaz had Amla held at extra-cover and de Villiers, who had survived a run-out chance on 115, fell via a top-edged slog-sweep to midwicket off Saeed Ajmal, but Francois du Plessis’ 19-ball 45 was a late shot in the arm.
Hafeez saw opening partner Nasir Jamshed go early but advanced to a fifty before Ryan McLaren had Kamran Akmal caught behind for 30. Having hit a smooth 57, Hafeez holed out off Robin Peterson who soon bowled Younus Khan.
Shoaib Malik’s cheap departure heralded Afridi’s blitz, during which McLaren had Misbah-ul-Haq caught behind. However, Lonwabo Tsotsobe ended the danger by having Afridi held at long-off.
Riaz offered resistance but he was last out, yorked by Kleinveldt for 45, in the penultimate over.