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Pakistan set 321-run target for South Africa in series decider

The Pakistan captain was dismissed on the last ball of the innings for 94

Pakistan set 321-run target for South Africa in series decider PHOTO: AFP

Fakhar Zaman’s second consecutive century helped Pakistan post 320/7 in the third ODI against South Africa in Centurion.

Imamul Haq and Fakhar Zaman laid a strong foundation for the Men in Green as they combined for a 112-run opening stand, after being asked to bat first by South Africa.

Despite a barrage of short pitched deliveries by South African pacers, Fakhar and Imam remained solid and handled the storm. Although, they were lucky early on as few edges went past slips but the openers took full advantage after six overs as they started taking on the pacers with perfectly executed pull shots.

Imam brought up his second fifty of the series as Keshav Maharaj was introduced in the 18th over. However, the left-hander slowed down after reaching his fifty. He was eventually forced to hit out but was caught at long-on for 57, with Maharaj providing the breakthrough for the Proteas.

Fakhar also completed his fifty in 62 balls in the 24th over. Unlike Imam, Fakhar changed gears after reaching his fifty and took a liking to the left-arm spin of Maharaj and JJ Smuts.

The left-hand opener dispatched spin and pace in equal measure all around the park as Babar kept the scoreboard ticking at the other end. Fakhar continued his rich vein of form as he brought up his second century of the series in just 99 balls.

Pakistan were well-placed to kick on but Maharaj broke the brewing partnership as he dismissed Fakhar for 100. The left-arm spin of Maharaj was too hot to handle for Mohammad Rizwan as he struggled to connect before being stumped by Henrich Klassen for two.

Sarfaraz Ahmed joined Babar next and played his trademark sweep shots to accelerate the Pakistan innings. However, after hitting a couple of boundaries, the wicketkeeper-batsman chipped one straight to Smuts and departed for 13.

Faheem Ashraf followed in Sarfaraz’s footsteps and was caught and bowled for one in the next over by Aiden Markram.

Pakistan needed Babar to step up and provide a strong finish and he did just that. The Pakistan captain was dismissed on the last ball of the innings for 94 as a late cameo of 32 not out from Hasan Ali helped Pakistan reach a total above 300.