David Miller of South Africa in action. Picture: DAN MULLAN/GETTY IMAGES
David Miller of South Africa in action. Picture: DAN MULLAN/GETTY IMAGES

David Miller sparkled with a fighting 85 off 45 balls and spinner Tabraiz Shamsi dazzled with four wickets but it was not enough to save the Proteas from defeat as they crashed to their first T20 series loss on Asian soil.

The Proteas batsmen again fell like flies after Pakistan won the toss and chose to bowl first in the series-deciding third and final match at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on Sunday.

The hosts won the match by four wickets and sealed the series 2-1 as the Proteas slumped to their seventh T20 defeat in 10 matches since Mark Boucher took charge in December 2019.

In a T20 World Cup year, to be staged in India later in 2021 Covid-19 permitting, the Proteas team management will be worried as this loss was also a fourth series defeat in this format since Boucher was appointed head coach.

The Proteas were beaten 2-1 at home against England in Boucher’s first T20 series and lost by the same margin to Australia before they were humiliated 3-0 at home against England in late 2020.

Reeza Hendricks (two off five balls) was first to make the walk back to the dugout and was soon followed by Jon-Jon Smuts (one off six balls) in the fourth over and Pite van Biljon (16 off 11 balls) as the Proteas slumped to 41/3 at the end of the opening six powerplay overs.

The middle order of Van Biljon (16 off 11 balls), stand-in captain Heinrich Klassen (nought off one ball), all-rounders Andile Phehlukwayo (nought off three balls) and Dwaine Pretorius (nine off 10 balls] offered little and went out cheaply.

Miller could only watch from the other end as established batsmen fell about him but he found support from Pretorius and the pair put on a partnership of 17 off 20 balls.

When Pretorius was dismissed after 10.4 overs the Proteas were staring down the barrel at 65/7 but Bjorn Fortuin joined Miller in the middle and the two put on the first good partnership of the innings of 41 runs off 27 balls.

The hard-hitting Miller found willing partners in Bjorn Fortuin and Lutho Sipamla, who stitched together good partnerships of 41 off 27 balls and 58 off 30 balls as the Proteas set Pakistan a respectable target of 170. Miller was stranded on 85 with Sipamla not out on 8.

In reply, Pakistan got off to a flying start with openers Mohammad Rizwan (42 off 30) and Haider Ali (15 off 13) guiding the hosts to 51/0 after the first six overs.

Shamsi was the pick of the bowlers and got the breakthrough for SA when he got rid of Ali with his first delivery of the match and dismissed Rizwan in his second over.

Shamsi grabbed his third wicket in emphatic style when he bowled Hussain Talat (five off six balls) and got his fourth victim when he removed Asif Ali (seven off eight balls) at the halfway mark to leave Pakistan in a spot of bother at 112/4.

Top scorer and captain Babar Azam (44 runs off 30 balls) took Pakistan near the target but it was left to the tail-enders to finish the job after the skipper lost his wicket.

Mohammad Nawaz (18 not out) and Hasan Ali (20 not out) were at the crease when Pakistan reached the victory target with six balls remaining.

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