Match winners: Andile Phehlukwayo and Rassie van der Dussen put together a match-winning partnership. Picture: ANESH DIBIKY/GALLO IMAGES
Match winners: Andile Phehlukwayo and Rassie van der Dussen put together a match-winning partnership. Picture: ANESH DIBIKY/GALLO IMAGES

In the end, SA’s five-wicket win against Pakistan in the second ODI at Kingsmead looked comfortable. However, getting there was anything but that.

Chasing 204 should be easy, but when SA were reduced to 80/5, it looked like Pakistan would collect another win at one of their favourite grounds.

Rassie van der Dussen (80*) and Andile Phehlukwayo (69*) would have none of it though. Their cool and calm Kingsmead record sixth-wicket unbeaten stand of 127 kept the hosts alive in the fivematch series.

After all, they had let Pakistan back in the game to score 203 in 45.5 overs after the Proteas had them pinned down 112/8 after 32 overs.

When Hashim Amla (eight) punched two boundaries off two Shaheen Afridi (3/44) deliveries, it looked as though SA would have the measure of a modest chase. However, the 18-year-old left-arm seamer had the last laugh with a wicked inswinger that disturbed Amla’s stumps.

That Amla wicket saw Afridi go on a spell where he took a wicket in each of his first three overs. In his next over, he had Reeza Hendricks (five) chasing a wide one into Sarfraz Ahmed’s gloves and in Afridi’s next over, Faf du Plessis (eight) fell to the Afridi/Ahmed combination.

SA were 29/3 after six overs and in danger of bottling the chase, but the threat posed by Afridi was unique.

While SA bowled well, Afridi was the only bowler who got the ball to move in the air.

It was a challenge that was too great for the others but not for Van der Dussen and David Miller (31).

The pair staged an admirable repair job with a fourth-wicket stand of 51 off 53 balls. Shadab Khan’s (2/46) first over ended Miller’s budding innings when he coaxed the southpaw into a chip that was well caught by Imam-ul-Haq at short mid-wicket.

Heinrich Klaasen was out on the very next ball when he misread a Khan googly and 80/3 suddenly became 80/5.

Van der Dussen batted with a maturity of a seasoned veteran and with the level-headed Phehlukwayo, they weathered an excellent bowling storm.

Their steady stand drew the sting from Pakistan’s bowling, but their bowling also gave them a chance. Van der Dussen collected a second successive 50 off 81 balls while Phehlukwayo’s came off just 54 deliveries. They displayed the necessary patience that took a difficult surface out of the equation.

The variable nature of SA’s international coastal surfaces again came to the fore as Pakistan struggled to adapt to a twopaced and slow pitch. While there was the general slowness that is part and parcel of latter-day Kingsmead surfaces, the spongy bounce has not disappeared. It accounted for the top three of Imam (five), Fakhar Zaman (26) and Babar Azam (12).

Imam and Babar were snared by two different Kagiso Rabada (2/35) bouncers that were caught by Phehlukwayo (4/22) at varying square-leg positions. Imam was beaten for pace by a surprise steepler while Babar was deceived by a lack of pace.

Zaman reined in his attacking instincts but was defeated by a Duanne Olivier (1/51) bouncer that not only cramped him for room, but he could only fend the fierce delivery to Miller at gully.

Mohammad Hafeez (nine) was snared in a well-set short midwicket trap by Du Plessis off Phehlukwayo as the third and fourth wickets fell on 58.

Khan (18) and Hussain Talat (two) tried to inch the score along to 100 but they fell to Tabraiz Shamsi (3/56). The most disappointing dismissal was that of veteran Shoaib Malik (21).

Tasked with rebuilding the innings, Malik showed sound sense and reasonable cricketing judgment but these qualities went missing when he picked out Hendricks at deep squareleg off Phehlukwayo.

Faheem Ashraf (0) did not bother the scorers much and at 112/8 in the 32nd over, Pakistan looked down and out.

However, nothing gets Pakistan going like a hopeless situation and through Hasan Ali and captain Ahmed, they dug themselves out of a hole. Ali collared every bowler who came his way and cantered to a 37-ball 50 with three fours and three sixes.

Ahmed’s 59-ball 41 was full of common sense and strike rotation but when he was bowled by Phehlukwayo, the innings’ momentum went with him. Ali was gone four balls later, but they gave Pakistan something to defend.

However, Van der Dussen and man-of-the-match Phehlukwayo had other ideas.