Andile Phehlukwayo at the media briefing after the Momentum One Day International match between South Africa and Pakistan in Durban, January 22 2019. Picture: Picture: ANESH DEBIKY/GALLO IMAGES
Andile Phehlukwayo at the media briefing after the Momentum One Day International match between South Africa and Pakistan in Durban, January 22 2019. Picture: Picture: ANESH DEBIKY/GALLO IMAGES

Andile Phehlukwayo may have earned man of the match plaudits for Tuesday’s five-wicket win against Pakistan but such is his team spirit that he also acknowledged Rassie van der Dussen’s role in the tense chase.

Phehlukwayo calmed his batting nerves to compile a cool unbeaten 69 alongside the 4/22 that ensured Pakistan scored 203 on a difficult surface.

He also took two early catches that got rid of Imam-ul-Haq and Babar Azam. The two catches were significant as Imam and Babar played a huge role in Pakistan’s first ODI win in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

Van der Dussen’s role was immense as he absorbed the early pressure from Shaheen Afridi and batted sensibly to see off the threat posed by leg-spinner Shadab Khan‚ who took two wickets in his first over.

Van der Dussen played his second consecutive ODI and his unbeaten 80 stabilised the innings from perilous depths of 29/3 and 80/5.

Phehlukwayo and Van der Dussen shared in a Kingsmead record stand of 127 runs for the sixth wicket that only helped the Proteas square the series‚ but keeps interest in a five-match sojourn that has more meaning than just results.

World Cup places are up for grabs and the eight remaining ODIs provide the platform for the positional race.

“I just wanted to be positive because there was a hill to climb and there were a lot of runs still to get,” Phehlukwayo said. “However‚ there were a lot of balls remaining.

“Without Rassie there‚ it would have been really tough and the credit has to go to him.

“He played an unbelievable knock and I just tried to stick to my plan and take things one ball at a time.”

The race for World Cup spots is hotting up and Phehlukwayo admitted the performance was his best in his 36 ODI outings for the national team.

The display had a sense of significant timing because if Phehlukwayo lost his wicket‚ SA carried a long tail and Pakistan’s bowlers would have scythed through the bowlers.

Phehlukwayo said he puts pressure on himself to deliver for the team in any way he can. With the World Cup looming‚ more of what was witnessed at his home-ground has to be delivered regularly.

“It’s the best performance I’ve delivered so far and I’m glad that the hard work that I’ve been putting in behind the scenes is coming off,” he said.

“At the end of the day‚ all I can do is to work hard behind the scenes‚ stick to my game plans and when I’m in the middle‚ try to implement my plans.”