The UAE series got off to a inauspicious start for Pakistan as they went down by 6 wickets to an in-form South African side. After being skittled out for 119, thanks largely to superb performances by Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Johan Botha, Pakistan was unable to capitalise on the fact that they had South Africa at 26 for 3 and lost the first of two Twenty-20 games against their opponents.
Pakistan's innings was lacklustre at best. The openers went quickly, Umar Akmal failed to impress, Shahi Afridi unleased a couple of lusty blows, but Misbah-ul-Haq couldn't up the tempo and the latter order caved in without much resistance.
South Africa made their chase harder than it should have been when it was pegged back by a fiery first spell from Shoiab Akhtar. Loots Bosman was swallowed up at cover while AB De Villiers played on, as Shoaib picked up two wickets in his first over itself. Then Graeme Smith was bowled attempting a cut shot off Mohammad Hafeez reducing South Africa to 26 for 3 in 5.1 overs. Pakistan's Saeed Ajmal and Umar Gul did well to keep up the pressure and restrict South Africa as much as possible.
But, the Proteas recovered quickly with some gritty play from J P Duminy and Colin Ingram who put on a crucial 66 runs in 10.4 overs to enable their side to surge ahead. The duo milked a sloppy Shahid Afridi for 23 runs in two overs. Once Duminy went to a good diving catch by Umar Akmal at long on, David Miller struck a few fours to make sure the scoring rate didn't dip and enabled South Africa to overhaul the set total.
Apart from some untidy overs from the Morkel brothers up front in which the duo conceded one too many wides and no-balls, South Africa kept their line and length tight. Tsotsobe sent back both the openers with some fine bowling: Imran Farhat was out to a shabby slog and Shahzaib Hasan fell to a running catch from J P Duminy at backward of point.
The stage was set for Johan Botha who added to Pakistan's woes with a triple strike. Mohammad Hafeez cut one straight to the sweeper and Abdul Razzak who was struggling, lost his off stump. Afridi, meanwhile struck back with a triplet of powerful sixes off Botha, but perished attempting another ambitious shot making 25 off just seven balls.
Akmal appeared to be the only set batsman at this point and should have kept going, but a slow bouncer from Albie Morkel led to his undoing when he sent his pull shot straight to mid-wicket. Misbah-ul-Haq was left to complete the innings, but was not able to up the ante and only managed to take Pakistan's total to an unthreatening 119.