In-form wicketkeeper batsman Mohammad Rizwan hit a maiden hundred as Pakistan edged out South Africa by three runs in a thrilling last over finish to first Twenty20 international in Lahore on Thursday.
Needing 19 to win off the last over, Bjorn Fortuin (17 not out) and Dwaine Pretorius (15 not out) managed 15 as pacer Faheem Ashraf held his nerves to keep South Africa down to 166-6 in 20 overs.
Rizwan’s cracking 64-ball 104 not out had six boundaries and seven sixes – most sixes by a Pakistan batsman in a Twenty20 international – to lift the hosts to 169-6.
He then ran out the tourists’ top-scorer Reeza Hendricks (54) in the 18th over to anchor the win.
Hendricks and Janneman Malan (44) had given the visitors a solid 53-run start by the seventh over before leg-spinner Usman Qadir took two overs in successive overs to derail South Africa.
South Africa’s most experienced batsmen David Miller (six) and skipper Heinrich Klaasen (12) also failed to lift the tempo.
Hendricks’s fifth Twenty20 international fifty had eight boundaries off 42 balls while Malan hit eight boundaries and a six off just 29 balls.
For Pakistan, Qadir took 2-21 and fast bowler Haris Rauf finished with 2-44.
It was Rizwan all through Pakistan’s 20 overs of batting.
Rizwan, who scored his maiden Test hundred in Pakistan’s second Test win in Rawalpindi earlier this week, added 68 for the second wicket with Haider Ali who made 21.
It lifted Pakistan – sent in to bat – from a disastrous start which saw skipper and top batsman Babar Azam run out off the second ball of the match for nought.
Azam hit a drive off spinner Fortuin and ran for single but the bowler threw the stump at the non-striker end with a direct throw.
Rizwan held the innings at one end, changing gears in the 11th over when he hit three sixes off pacer Junior Dala to reach his fifty.
On his way to hundred he was dropped twice on 83 and 96 but he smashed medium pacer Andile Phehlukwayo over the deep mid-wicket boundary for his seventh six to complete hundred off 63 balls.
Rizwan is the only second Pakistan batsmen to score a Twenty20 international century behind Ahmed Shehzad who achieved the feat in Dhaka against Bangladesh in the World Cup seven years ago.
Phehlukwayo was the best South Africa bowler with 2-33.
The remaining two matches will be played on Saturday and Sunday, also in Lahore.