With a 117-run victory yesterday, the Proteas sealed the five-match Pakistan v South Africa ODI series by a tally of 4-1.
While Pakistan was able to put up some big individual run-totals, they were never really able to coalesce as a team, and South Africa's steady batting combined with a vicious bowling attack made it a mismatched affair, so much so that Pakistani captain Misbah-ul-Haq to declare he was 'worried' about his side following the series.
With two more Twenty20 matches set between the sides for next week, Paul Radley takes a look at the five defining moments of the UAE-hosted ODIs.
1. Parnell punishes Pakistan: Wayne Parnell knew he had some sizeable boots to fill in the absence of the world’s best in the opening game at Sharjah. Dale Steyn was given the start of this series off by the Proteas — but initially it was the world’s best batsman, Hashim Amla, who Parnell covered for. The left-hander struck an easy paced half-century to set the platform for a tense one-run win, then took three wickets, too.
2. Misbah toss shock: Misbah-ul-Haq always looks like he has the weight of the world on his shoulders. Given he captains the world’s most issues-rich cricket team, it must feel like it, too. To exacerbate the idea he is a poor, put-upon soul, he rarely ever wins a toss. The coin landed in his favour for the only time in the series in the second game, in Dubai. Pakistan won.
3. Tahir's turn: Imran Tahir arrived in the UAE with his South Africa career in the balance. He will leave as a key part of both the Test and 50-over sides thanks to his success with the ball here. The Pakistan-born leg-spinner was the star turn in deciding the second, series-halving Test in the Proteas’ favour. Then he took four wickets in the 68-run win in the first of the Abu Dhabi one-day internationals.
4. Quinton's fortune: If Parnell had a tough assignment replacing Steyn, then Quinton de Kock hardly had it much easier after being granted an opening berth midway through the series. The young left-hander was giving away around 300 games worth of international experience to his forebear when he came in to replace the injured Graeme Smith. Still, he did not seem fazed, racking up 112 in a series-clinching win.
5. AB sees the way forward: A meagre crowd showed up to see last night’s dead rubber. The absent hordes missed a gem of a century by AB de Villiers. South Africa’s captain, relieved of the wicket-keeping duties since De Kock’s arrival in the side, hit a sweetly paced 115 in 102 deliveries. Given the fact chasing totals has been all but impossible in this series, South Africa’s total of 268 was always going to be plenty.