Johannesburg: Aiden Markram struck a back-to-back fifty today to help South Africa win the second match by six wickets and equalize the T20I series 1-1 against Pakistan. Markram was on song with his power-hitting as the right-handed batsman scored his second T20I half-century.
Earlier, skipper Babar Azam fought hard to rescue Pakistan, however, South African bowlers restricted the visitors to 140-9 in 20 overs. Babar scored run-a-ball 50 runs with the help of five boundaries whereas his partnership of 58 runs with Mohammad Hafeez helped Pakistan recover from 10-2.
While batting first after winning the toss, Pakistan started their inning with Sharjeel Khan, who was making comeback after four years, and Mohammad Rizwan. The new opening pair was failed to get off the mark as Rizwan departed for naught on his first ball.
Sharjeel made eight runs before falling to Geroge Linde who picked up the openers earlier to put South Africa in the driving seat. Thereafter, Hafeez supported his skipper quite well with his 32 laced with six boundaries but Linde once again put a hurdle yet again for Pakistan by picking up their veteran batter. Haider Ali and Hasan Ali were the two other batters from Pakistan who scored double figures. They scored 12 runs each.
Linde picked up three wickets while Lizaad Williams also bagged as many wickets as Linde. Tabraiz Shamsi and Sisanda Magala shared a wicket apiece.
In reply, Janneman Malan and Markram put up 44 runs together to provide a solid start to the hosts. Malan departed off Hasan Ali after scoring 15 runs but Markram was in another mood. He single-handedly built the rhythm for South Africa by scoring 54 runs off 30 balls laced with seven boundaries and three sixes. Skipper Heinrich Klaasen scored quick 36 runs off 21 balls spread over four boundaries and a six.
George Linde played a cameo of 20 runs and struck two sixes to finish off the chase on a winning note for South Africa. For Pakistan, Usman Qadir bagged two wickets while Mohammad Hasnain and Hasan shared a wicket apiece.
Pakistan won the toss, decided to bat first
Sharjeel replaced in-form Fakhar Zaman, who was ruled due to a minor allergy in his left leg. The 21-year-old Mohammad Hasnain replaced Haris Rauf.
South Africa was unchanged.
South Africa: Janneman Malan, Aiden Markram, Pite van Biljon, Wihan Lubbe, Heinrich Klaasen (capt & wk), Andile Phehlukwayo, George Linde, Beuran Hendricks, Lizaad Williams, Tabraiz Shamsi, Sisanda Magala
Pakistan: Sharjeel Khan, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Babar Azam (capt), Haider Ali, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Nawaz, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Hasnain, Usman Qadir