Pakistan finally managed to over-power South Africa courtesy a rampant Abdul Razzak who notched up one of the great one-day centuries of all time. The all-rounder's 109 not out came off just 72 balls as he guided Pakistan to a much needed one-wicket win over the Proteas. His blistering innings was studded with 10 sixes and 4 boundaries, dispatching the South African bowlers to all corners of the ground to take his side over the line with just one ball to spare. It was the most splendid display of power-hitting to be seen on an international stage.
It was an unlikely turn-around, considering that Pakistan were once 70 for 4 in 19 overs. After another poor start thanks to a a deplorable 1 from opener Safiq and unsatifactory contributions from Mohammed Hafeez (30), Younis Khan (18) and Misbah-ul-Haq (17), Pakistan looked set to be facing imminent doom. '
But then the middle order stepped up to the plate with a steady 48 from Fawad Alam and a brisk 49 from Shahid Afridi. The two put on a defiant 66 for the fifth wicket and when Afridi went to a slower one of Tsotsobe, the stage was set for Razzaq and Alam to carry the impetus forward. Alam played patiently while an initially cautious Razzak got into the act, being especially brutal on Albie Morkel and Charl Langeveldt.
At 200 for 5 in the 40th over, Pakistan knew they were in with a chance, but the scoring rate had to increase steadily. Razzak was equal to the task smacking boundary after boundary and six after six, but Alam eventually ran out of steam and was out to Langeveldt.
What followed was another mini-collapse with a flurry of run-outs in the Pakistan latter-order, but Razzak stayed as firm as a rock at the other end. Pakistan needed 14 runs off the last over and Razzak was upto the challenge, hitting Morkel for a huge six and accumulating the remaining runs with Shoaib Akhtar for company.
It was an anti-climax for South Africa who had played two-thirds of the game like champions. Earlier in the day, South Africa virtually demolished the Pakistan bowling attack to get to 286 for 8. A flurry of wickets came towards the end of their innings, but the damage was done in the top and middle order. Opener Hashim Amla demonstrated why is is such an invaluable class act for his side, scoring a hurried 65 off just 62 balls before playing down the wrong line to Afridi who got him out LBW.
Then Charles Ingram gathered some more momentum in partnerships with A B de Villiers (29) and J P Duminy, who hit a quick 54 off just 43 balls in an innings studded with three fours and a six. By the time Ingram went for 100, he had taken the total to 216 in the 40th over. Nerves got the better of Pakistan's latter order, but Duminy stood firm. In the end Morkel and Langeveldt were left with squeezing out a few more runs at the death and taking their side to a commanding total.
Pakistan got its act together rather late in the match, but it was enough to over-haul the stiff target. Razzaq who clearly over-shadowed Ingram with his century was fitfully named Man of the Match. Pakistan will no doubt be breathing a sigh of relief to get their first victory in the series and draw level with South Africa 1-1.