Shinwari's four-wicket haul set up series decider in Cape Town on Wednesday
All great streaks‚ like good things‚ have to come to an end and so did South Africa's proud “Pink Day” record at the hands of Pakistan's rampant bowling attack.
Usman Shinwari's four wickets in six balls not only wrecked South Africa's fragile lower order‚ but gave Pakistan an easy eight-wicket win with 112 balls remaining.
South Africa were bowled out for 164 in 41 overs to lose their first “Pink Day” after eight matches.
The series is now square at 2-all and it's a winner takes all contest in Cape Town on Wednesday evening.
The Proteas let down a capacity crowd that was nicely clad in pink but at some point‚ their batting frailty had to be exposed.
They got out of the 80/5 jail in Durban and were smart enough to use the weather to their advantage in Centurion on Friday.
Their luck had to run out at some point and Pakistan's bowling attack aren't the type to waste helpful conditions.
They also put in a commanding performance in the absence of their captain Sarfraz Ahmed‚ who copped a four-game ban for his racist remark to Andile Phehlukwayo in the second ODI in Durban.
Shoaib Malik‚ who's the only active international cricketer who played in the 1990's‚ led the side admirably.
The Pakistan Cricket Board were disappointed by the International Cricket Council's (ICC) decision to ban skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed but the players didn't let them down.
Pakistan's chase was easier than candy snatched from a kid with partnerships from Fakhar Zaman/Imam-ul-Haq (70) and Babar Azam/Imam (94) giving them the deserved win set up by their superb bowling and South Africa's insipid batting.
Imam (77) scored his second 50 of the series but didn't see out the deal.
It's difficult to win games when you lose three wickets in an over but when you lose eight wickets for 45 runs in 15.1 overs‚ that's an easy way of surrendering a proud record.
That's what happened to South Africa when they cascaded from 119/2 to 164 which was shambolic stuff.
The start itself‚ albeit on a difficult surface softened up by heavy rain late on Saturday‚ was a dodgy one.
Quinton de Kock (0) didn't trouble the scorers when Shaheen Afridi (2/24) nailed him leg before while Reeza Hendricks (two) feathered Afridi to Mohammad Rizwan to leave South Africa tottering at 18/2 after five overs.
Hashim Amla (59) and Faf du Plessis (57) did the heavy lifting that was expected of them with some success against some very good bowling by the visitors.
Their running between the wickets left a lot to be desired but somehow‚ they found various but successful ways to transfer pressure. Their 50-run stand came in 62 balls while the century mark was raised in 121.
Their 101-run stand was the lone feast in the batting famine.
Was the Du Plessis/Amla stand a good enough platform?
Maybe but Shadab Khan (2/42) triggered the slide when he lulled Du Plessis‚ who's 50 came off 73 deliveries‚ into a mistimed slog-sweep that Mohammad Hafeez pouched successfully at deep square-leg.
The spinner constriction continued in earnest and four overs later‚ Amla played around an Imad Wasim (1/36) arm ball.
130/4 didn't look like a spot of bother but SA's tail is a long one and unlike in Durban‚ there was enough assistance in the pitch for Pakistan to go for the kill.
Indeed they did as David Miller (four) was pinned leg before by Mohammad Amir (1/26) two over late but the real damage was done by the unheralded Shinwari (4/35).
The nippy left-arm seamer killed the contest in the 38th over when he had Rassie van der Dussen (18) and Kagiso Rabada gifting catches to Rizwan and Babar Azam while Dale Steyn was sandwiched in between those dismissal when Shinwari castled him.
Shinwari was correctly denied a hat-trick by Bongani Jele in the same 38th over after removing Van der Dussen and Steyn in consecutive balls but Rabada's exit in the first ball of the 40th over sealed the hosts' fate.
Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.