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Hendricks, du Plessis take South Africa to thrilling win

photo by AP photo

Pakistan\'s batsman Babar Azam, goes for a run during their T20 cricket match between South Africa and Pakistan at the Newland\'s Cricket Ground in Cape Town, South Africa on Friday.

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Faf du Plessis and Reeza Hendricks struck solid 70s as South Africa halted Pakistan's nine-match winning streak in the 20-over format taking the first Twenty20 International at Newlands in Cape Town by six runs in what turned out to be a nail-biting affair.
Du Plessis and Reeza Hendricks put on a show batting first with the duo forging a 131-run stand for the second wicket in just 73 balls to take the hosts to a strong 192/6. Pakistan then had their moments in the chase with Babar Azam, Talat Hussain and Shoaib Malik all getting runs but none of them could stay till the end as the visitors were restricted to 186/9 in their 20 overs.
Putting South Africa into bat, Pakistan surprisingly started with spin from both ends a move which backfired. Malik's first over went for 12 runs while Imad Wasim's opening over went for seven as South Africa raced to 19/0 after two.
Wasim, however, pulled things back with the wicket of opener Gihahn Cloete who slapped a loopy delivery straight to Fakhar Zaman at point for 13. That though remained Pakistan's only success for the next 12.1 overs as du Plessis and Reeza Hendricks made merry.
Du Plessis was off the blocks right away with two consecutive fours off pacer Hasan Ali. Reeza Hendricks too collected a boundary off Wasim as the hosts finished the PowerPlay on a strong 48/1.
The South African captain was in his elements on the day as he brought out his full repertoire of strokes. He ramped Faheem Ashraf for a six the very next over after the PowerPlay and followed it up with an equally cheeky dab down to the third man boundary. Even leg-spinner Shadab was not spared with both batsmen upping the scoring rate by the over.
It was not long before du Plessis reached his half-century getting to the landmark with a hack over deep midwicket followed by another four in the same direction taking just 29 balls. Reeza Hendricks not far behind then got stuck into pacer Usman Shinwari first clubbing him for half a dozen over cow corer and then ending the over with a pull down to fine leg. The opener too reached his half-century taking 31 balls as Pakistan bled.
The mammoth 131-run for the second wicket was finally brought to a halt by left-arm pacer Shinwari who picked up two wickets in the 16th overs to peg things back slightly. Du Plessis was the first one to go falling for a 45-ball 78 that included six fours and four sixes before Rassie van der Dussen fell two balls later with Mohammad Rizwan taking a brilliant catch behind the stumps diving to his right.
Reeza Hendricks struck a couple more crisp fours but fell shortly after for a 41-ball 74 to Shinwari with Shadab Khan taking an outstanding catch running in from the long off boundary. The opener's innings was laced with eight fours and two sixes.

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