Captain Babar Azam (122) led the Pakistan cricket team from the front as the visitors took an unassailable lead of 2-1 in the four-match T20I series against South Africa.
Babar Azam won the toss at SuperSport Park and invited South Africa to bat first in the third T20I. The Proteas posted a 203-run total on the board, riding on half-centuries from Janneman Malan (55) and Aiden Markram (63). Rassie van der Dussen provided an excellent finish with a quickfire 34*.
Chasing 205 runs, Pakistan did not lose a single wicket until the 18th over. Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan (73*) stitched an incredible 197-run opening stand to set up Pakistan's victory. After Azam's dismissal, Fakhar Zaman (8*) completed the formalities.
Brief Scores: South Africa 203/5 (Aiden Markram 63, Janneman Malan 55; Mohammad Nawaz 2/38, Faheem Ashraf 1/37) lost to Pakistan 205/1 (Babar Azam 122, Mohammad Rizwan 73*; Lizaad Williams 1/34) by nine wickets.
South Africa got off to an excellent start in Centurion despite losing the toss. Janneman Malan and Aiden Markram scored 108 runs off 64 deliveries before Mohammad Nawaz (2/38) broke the partnership.
Nawaz dismissed both openers, while Faheem Ashraf (1/37) rattled the stumps of George Linde (22) as South Africa lost three wickets inside four overs.
Cameos from Rassie van der Dussen, Heinrich Klaasen (15) and Andile Phelukwayo (11) powered the Proteas past 200.
The home team dealt mostly in boundaries tonight as no Pakistani bowler could maintain an economy rate of less than 9.
The Babar Azam show in Centurion
Heading into this T20I match, Babar Azam's highest score in this format at the international level was 97. The pitch at SuperSport Park was a batting paradise and Azam made the most out of it.
Mohammad Rizwan smashed five fours and two sixes in his unbeaten 47-ball 73*, whereas Babar Azam hit 15 fours and four maximums in his career-best T20I knock. Eventually, Lizaad Williams dismissed Azam after he scored 122 runs off just 59 deliveries.
Fakhar Zaman, who replaced Sharjeel Khan in this game, continued his phenomenal form on this tour by finishing the run-chase in style with back-to-back boundaries. Pakistan won the game by nine wickets and 12 balls to spare.
The final match of this T20I series will happen on Friday at the same venue. It will be exciting to see if South Africa can level the series.