Tue, Mar 26, 2013 - Page 19 News List

De Villiers rides luck to steer S Africa to series win

Reuters, BENONI, South Africa

A.B. de Villiers survived being dropped early to smash a series-winning unbeaten 95 for South Africa, who beat Pakistan by six wickets in the deciding match of their one-day international series on Sunday.

De Villiers offered a routine opportunity to Younus Khan at slip when he was on 1 and made Pakistan pay dearly for that miss by guiding his side to a 3-2 series success with six overs to spare.

Pakistan, who won the toss and elected to bat first at Willowmoore Park on a wicket that had variable bounce, had limped to 205 all out.

The home side always looked comfortable in their chase and the win was sealed with an 88-run stand between De Villiers and Farhaan Behardien (35) for the fourth wicket.

“We got some partnerships together with bat and ball. The whole bowling unit got better as the series went on and today was the best performance of all,” said De Villiers, who won the Man of the Series award by scoring 367 runs at an average of more than 91.

“Pakistan are a world-class team, there is talent all around their side. It made for a very good series and a very tough series for us,” he added.

Pakistan found life at the crease difficult, unable to cope with the tight line of the home bowlers.

Kamran Akmal was the pick of the visiting batsman with a fluent 48 before he top-edged a Robin Peterson delivery on the sweep to Ryan McLaren at square-leg.

Plenty of others got starts, but many lost their wicket as they tried to push up the scoring rate.

Younus (29) became a first one-day international wicket for Behardien as the part-time seamer dropped a delivery short outside off-stump. Younus smashed the ball toward mid-wicket, but picked out Hashim Amla, who took an excellent reaction catch.

Shoaib Malik (28), Misbah-ul-Haq (24) and Junaid Khan (25) also got into the 20s, but all fell before they could make a telling impact.

“It was a 250 pitch and the way we started it was gettable, but we did not show responsibility as a batting side,” Pakistan captain Misbah said. “It was a crucial miss [the De Villiers drop], but that happens in cricket. The real problem [is] we were short 50 runs.”

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