Pakistan cruise to victory

Hosts take the lead in five-match series

Last Updated: 23/10/07 3:27pm

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Afridi: Runs and wickets

Afridi: Runs and wickets

Sky Bet

Shahid Afridi took three for 37 and hit 32 off 18 balls to inspire Pakistan to a six wicket victory in the third one-day international against South Africa.

The result in Faisalabad gives the hosts a 2-1 lead in a five-match series that is continuing under heightened security following recent bomb attacks.

Afridi's brisk off-spinners undermined the South African innings as they were skittled in the 50th over for 197, Iftikhar Anjum also taking a career-best 3-33.

The all-rounder then got the reply off to a sparkling start with four fours and two sixes in his short knock, and the good work was carried on by Mohammad Yousuf (58 not out), who saw the innings through to its conclusion.

Crucial partnership

Yousuf added a crucial partnership of 79 with captain Shoaib Malik (42) after Yasir Hameed (18) and Yousuf Khan (10) had followed Afridi back to the pavilion.

At 68-3 the chase was on the verge of stalling, but Yousuf's calm assurance allied to Malik's more aggressive approach proved a winning formula.

Malik edged Albie Morkel to wicket-keeper Mark Boucher with the hosts still 51 runs short of their target, but with Pakistan well ahead of the run-rate Yousuf was able to cruise to his half century off 104 balls with a solitary boundary.

And Misbah-ul-Haq showed no sign of nerves as he cracked 29 from 32 balls, including a six off Morkel to take his side past their victory target.

Only Smith (48) and Kemp (42) made meaningful contributions for the Proteas as several batsmen got out after looking set.

Smith and Kemp added 45 for the fourth wicket to steady the ship after the captain had lost fellow opener Herschelle Gibbs (19), Jacques Kallis (13) and AB de Villiers (17).

False strokes

All three only had themselves to blame for playing false strokes after they looked untroubled, and the fielding side took their chances well.

Gibbs edged Umar Gul behind, Kallis hit Afridi straight to cover while de Villiers chipped a catch to mid-wicket off Iftikhar Anjum.

The pair took the score on to 122 before Smith was run out attempting a quick single to Malik, but Kemp forged a useful partnership with Mark Boucher that looked likely to rescue the tourists.

But Kemp played across the line to Afridi and was bowled after hitting a couple of sixes and Boucher fell soon after - lobbing a simple catch to Shoaib Malik at mid-off off the bowling of Abdur Rehman.

The final four wickets yielded just 23 runs - Shaun Pollock caught and bowled by Afridi for one, Albie Morkel (12) slogging an Afridi delivery to substitute Imran Nazir at long-off, Charl Langeveldt bowled by Anjum for four and Makhaya Ntini bowled by Gul without troubling the scorers.

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