A.B. de Villiers stormed to an unbeaten century to help South Africa beat Pakistan convincingly by 117 runs in the fifth and final one-day international in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, on Monday, winning the five-match series 4-1.
De Villiers scored 115 from 102 balls with 10 fours and three sixes — his 15th one-day century — to lift South Africa to an imperious 268-7, before bowling Pakistan out for 151 in 35.3 overs.
Sohaib Maqsood top-scored with a solid 53, but otherwise Pakistan failed to capitalize on a weakened South Africa bowling attack, with spearheads Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, and spinner Imran Tahir rested for the meaningless match as the series had already been decided.
De Villiers said it was satisfying to win the series after the team’s 4-1 loss in Sri Lanka in July.
“It is satisfying to win the series, and I think the players played exceptionally well throughout the series and played as a unit,” De Villiers said.
“It was tough to bat on this pitch, but I hung on and we were thinking of 220-plus, but in the end we got a good total,” he added.
Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq rued another batting failure.
“I think they played very well,” Misbah said.
“They deserved this win and it was the same old batting collapse. We have to seriously think about this,” he added.
Pakistan were 8-2 with Ahmed Shehzad (2) and Mohammad Hafeez (6) out by the fifth over, once again highlighting their top-order failure in the series.
It was Maqsood, who hit 56 on his debut in Abu Dhabi on Friday, who gave some consolation to another lackluster batting effort with a 63-ball half-century, before he became one of two victims for Jean-Paul Duminy, who finished with 2-14. Wayne Parnell finished with 3-36.
Umar Akmal made 30, while Misbah managed 18. Shahid Afridi (9) and Umar Amin (5) failed once more as South Africa took the final six wickets for a mere 41 runs.
South Africa won the toss and batted on a slow pitch.
De Villiers lifted the tempo in the final overs, hitting Sohail Tanvir’s final over for 25 runs, reaching his century with a four toward midwicket, which came off 99 balls. He then hit the left-armer for six, four and four to help South Africa add 114 in the last 10 overs.
At 105 he also completed 6,000 one-day international runs, becoming the fifth South Africa batsman to reach the milestone.
Jacques Kallis (11,469), Herschelle Gibbs (8,094), Graeme Smith (6,976) and Gary Kirsten (6,798) were the others to score 6,000 or more one-day runs for South Africa.
De Villiers was initially slow to get going, reaching his half-century off 70 balls, with a big six off Saeed Ajmal toward midwicket. He added an invaluable 83 for the sixth wicket with Ryan McLaren (27), before lashing out in the final overs.
De Villiers had built the innings with an invaluable 62-run stand for the fourth wicket with Faf du Plessis, who made an 89-ball 46 with the help of two boundaries.
Quinton de Kock (34) added 50 with Du Plessis after Hashim Amla fell in the first over of the innings for 3.
Ajmal finished with 3-45, while Khan took 2-57.
South Africa won the first match by one run in Sharjah, before Pakistan leveled the series with a 66-run win in Dubai. South Africa then won both the matches in Abu Dhabi by 68 and 28 runs respectively.
The two teams next play Twenty20 internationals in Dubai today and on Friday.