|Pakistan's Abdul Razzaq, the century-making hero of the second one-dayer, could not help his team as South Africa held their nerve to clinch victory in Dubai [AFP]
Morne Morkel and Hashim Amla put on an inspired performance at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium as South Africa pulled off a narrow win over Pakistan in the third day-night ODI on Tuesday, establishing a 2-1 lead in their ODI series.
South Africa were put into bat, and owed much of their victory to the 27-year-old Amla who hit a confident 119 and helped his team to a defendable 228-9 before the Proteas survived another scare by Pakistan who managed 226-9.
Paceman Morkel took four wickets as Pakistan came up short, despite an unbeaten 59 from Fawad Alam who was dropped twice in the closing overs as Juan Theron added to the tension by bowling a no ball with the first delivery of the final over from which 12 runs were required.
Pakistan started out slowly before Alam's late rally.
South Africa, who lost the second match in Abu Dhabi by one wicket after Abdul Razzaq's incredible 72-ball 109 not out, this time negated Alam's surge which almost turned the tables again.
South African seamers Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Theron only just managed to defend 34 runs in the final four overs.
Hashim Amla's earlier performance continued a superb fun of form in the last six months, which has seen him score 865 runs in his last 11 ODI innings with five centuries.
"Fortunately in the last two games, its gone quite well for me,'' Amla said.
"I've just tried to keep things simple and tried to make an impact at the top of the order and fortunately things have gone my way.''
His team mates, however, were largely at sea with only J-P Duminy (26) passing 20. AB de Villiers might have done better than his 19 off 40 balls had he not been bizarrely given out stumped by third umpire Zameer Haider despite his back foot being clearly grounded behind his crease.
Pakistan's top order once again struggled although Imran Farhat (47) and Asad Shafiq (43) added 85 for the third wicket to repair the early damage.
Seamer Wahab Riaz was the unlikely hero in the closing overs hitting Morkel over point for six in a cameo innings of 21 from 11 deliveries, suddenly reigniting Pakistan's hopes which had seemed remote with 83 required from the final ten overs and only five wickets in hand.
Left hander Alam did his best to squeeze the required runs out of his tail end partners but this time the Proteas managed to sneak home.
The fourth match of the series takes place at the same venue on Friday. Both teams play two Tests – once each in Dubai and Abu Dhabi – after the one-day series.