Pakistan showcased why they are one of the most unpredictable cricket teams on Friday as they nearly lost to South Africa after being in the driver's seat for the most part of the 1st ODI of a 3-match series in Centurion. Babar Azam hit a hundred and Imam-ul-Haq a fine fifty but the visitors huffed and puffed past the finish line in the last-over thriller at the SuperSport Park.

Pakistan needed just 3 runs in the final over. However, there was plenty of drama as Andile Phehlukwayo nearly delivered a miracle for South Africa. Pakistan's Faheem Ashraf played out 4 dot balls before holding his nerve to hit the winning runs in a thrilling finish in the series opener.

Pakistan were cruising towards a 274-run target despite losing opener Fakhar Zaman (8) as early as the 3rd over. Captain Babar Azam (103) and Imam-ul-Haq (70) added 177 runs for the 2nd wicket as the two batsmen showcased their wide range of strokes. Babar was at his elegant best, hitting 17 boundaries in another of his eye-catching knocks. Babar's 13th ODI hundred put Pakistan in a position of strength at the 30-over mark. However, the skipper fell to Anrich Nortje in the 32nd over, triggering a collapse.

With Imam falling in the 34th over to Nortje, Pakistan slipped from 193 for 2 to 203 for 5 as the likes of Danish Aziz (3) and Abid Ali (2) failed to trouble the scorers much. However, wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan (40) and all-rounder Shadab Khan (33) stitched a 53-run stand for the 6th wicket to take Pakistan closer to the target.

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