Iram Javed, Nida Dar steer Pakistan to 2-1 lead
Pakistan 139 for 6 (Javed 55, Dar 32, Ismail 2-12) beat South Africa 138 for 3 (Brits 70*, de Klerk 36, Shamim 1-20) by four wickets
, South Africa completed a tight chase with only a ball to spare to draw level in the series, but Pakistan have now pulled off their own last-over finish in the third T20I to make it 2-1.
Having slipped to 3 for 3 in pursuit of South Africa's 138 for 3, Pakistan were revitalised by a 77-run stand between and , who struck her maiden T20I fifty.
Pakistan needed seven from the last over, and South Africa's decision to leave that over to Nadine de Klerk seemed to have been justified when Javed carved the first delivery out to wide long-on, where Tazmin Brits held a stunning diving catch at the boundary's edge. But that was as good as it got for South Africa, Sana Mir slamming the first ball she faced to the square-leg boundary and then swiping two more runs in the same area to secure victory with two balls to spare.
Pakistan's turnaround was all the more remarkable considering the trouble they were in at the start of their innings. Shabnim Ismail struck twice in consecutive overs, while left-arm pacer Moseline Daniels also made an early incision to help send Pakistan's top three back to the pavilion inside the first three overs.
Dar and Javed took a little time to get going, and it wasn't until the final over of the Powerplay that Pakistan finally found the boundary, but they picked the pace up thereafter. Javed took a particular liking to Tumi Sekhukhune's medium pace, while the pair also combined to plunder 19 runs from Sune Luus' second over.
Their efforts brought the required rate down to a manageable level, and after Dar was bowled by Daniels for 32 in the 12th over, Aliya Riaz helped Javed to keep the momentum going. Back-to-back boundaries off de Klerk took Javed to a 39-ball fifty, and although she and Riaz both fell before the job was done, Mir ensured there would be no further slip-ups.
While she was unable to defend South Africa's total in the final over, de Klerk had played a hand in the most significant stand of her team's innings, adding 80 for the second wicket with Brits. After a mix-up led to the early dismissal of Lizelle Lee, run out for 2, Brits and de Klerk combined to take South Africa to a steady 31 for 1 at the end of the Powerplay.
Brits brought up her maiden T20I fifty off 47 balls in the 14th over before the dismissals of de Klerk and Chloe Tryon in quick succession dented South Africa's progress and their run rate dipped below a run a ball. Luus' adventurous innings helped to up the tempo as she dominated a 44-run stand with Brits, who ended the innings with a massive six over midwicket, but thanks to Javed's personal best with the bat, South Africa were unable to defend their total.
The series now moves to Benoni for the final two matches, with the next one taking place at Willowmoore Park on Wednesday.\n