Legspinner Shahid Afridi and off spinner Saeed Ajmal bowled out South Africa for 143 as Pakistan recorded a thumping 66-run victory in the second one-day international to level the series 1-1. Afridi took 3-26 and Ajmal (2-15) choked South Africa's top order with plenty of variations to dismiss the Proteas in 40.4 overs for its second lowest ODI score against Pakistan. Paceman Ryan McLaren (4-34), who remained unbeaten on 29, and Morne Morkel (3-38) combined for seven wickets to dismiss Pakistan for 209 in 49.4 overs on a bowler-dominated wicket at Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
South Africa recorded a sensational one-run victory in the first match and the five-match series resumes next Wednesday at Abu Dhabi. "Whenever you score 200 plus (runs) you have a chance here, especially if you get early wickets," Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq said. "The way Hafeez started, he bowled very well, Afridi took some important wickets and Ajmal put the pressure on." South Africa's key batsman Hashim Amla, who flew back home last month to be with his pregnant wife, and rested fast bowler Dale Steyn will rejoin the team for the remainder of the series.
South Africa's batsmen were hapless in their run-chase after Misbah deployed spinners Mohammad Hafeez (1-25) and Ajmal within the first 15 overs. Graeme Smith's innings of frustrating 14 off 56 balls finally ended when he tried to sweep Ajmal but only saw the ball cannoning back onto his offstump off the front pads. Afridi had Faf du Plessis lbw off his first delivery and in the next over captain AB de Villiers (10) got a faint edge and was caught behind as South Africa never recovered from 5-73.
"We have a few issues in the batting and it's up to us to turn it around," de Villiers said. "I'm very disappointed ... we have to face some of the best bowlers in the world and we weren't good enough." Tall fast bowler Mohammad Irfan (3-53), who had JP Duminy caught behind, returned to add the wickets of Wayne Parnell and Morne Morkel before Afridi had last man Imran Tahir stumped. Earlier, Morkel exploited the Pakistan batsmen's weakness against short pitched deliveries when opening batsman Nasir Jamshed (1) top-edged a pull shot and Lowabo Tsotsobe took a brilliant two-handed diving catch and fine leg.
Hafeez (26) and Shahzad steadied the innings with a 48-run stand but McLaren got the breakthrough in his first over when Hafeez played on to his stumps. Misbah shared a 60-run stand third wicket stand with Shahzad, but McLaren came back to have the Pakistan captain mistime an unusual flick and holed out at deep midwicket. Shehzad's third half successive half century in ODIs — 58 off 85 with four boundaries — came to an end when he lobbed an easy catch back to legspinner Imran Tahir (1-28). McLaren and Morkel bowled miserly in the batting power play and conceded only 12 runs in five overs for the key wickets of Umar Akmal (18) and Umar Amin (14).
Afridi tried to break the shackles late in the innings with his typical aggressive 26 off 20 balls that included two successive fours off Tsotsobe but offered a tame catch at mid-off off Morkel's low full toss. No. 9 batsman Wahab Riaz (16) guided Pakistan beyond the 200-run mark as Parnell (1-49) wrapped up the innings with two balls to spare.