Shoaib Malik. @ Twitter/ICC

With reports about a possible suspension harbouring over captain Sarfraz Ahmed on the eve of the fourth ODI against South Africa, the news of a change in leadership was broken to Shoaib Malik few hours before the match, the allrounder revealed after Pakistan levelled the five-match series with an emphatic eight-wicket win at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Sunday. (South Africa vs Pakistan, 4th ODI: FULL SCORECARD)

“I got to know that I will be captaining when we got to the ground,” said Malik.

“The decision [to suspend Sarfraz Ahmed for his racially charged remarks] came this morning. I am not aware about the other matters [regarding the incident]. I took over the charge just before the start of the game. My responsibility is to fulfil whatever my cricket board and team management demand from me.” (ALSO READ: Sarfraz Ahmed gets four-match suspension over Andile Phehlukwayo comments)

South Africa broke their winning streak in pink clothing since the inception of Pink ODIs in March 2013. The result came after a disappointing rain-truncated match on Friday which saw the hosts walk away with the win via the DLS method.

“Of course, when a game slips away from your hand it frustrates you,” said Malik recalling the match at the Centurion.

“But, the goal should be to give your best shot and that’s what we had in our minds when we arrived at the ground today. I must highlight that the bowlers were exceptional and they set the tone. And then, the batsmen delivered.”

Pakistan’s bowlers set up the win, bowling out South Africa for 164. Imam-ul-Haq made 71 before playing a loose shot when the scores were level as Pakistan cruised to victory with 18.3 overs to spare.

Malik admitted that Pakistan had a slight edge after winning the toss. “We had seen a lot of rain the night before the match. The pitch was damp – which was in my mind,” he said.

“Winning the toss was an edge for us. Our pacers started off very well. But when Faf du Plessis and Hashim Amla bhai started playing convincingly, I thought of bringing on spinners since it was not a proper belter and they were bound to get some spin. And that’s what happened and they [our spinners] started to dictate terms from there. The wickets of Faf and Hashim bhai were the turning point of the match. (ALSO READ: PCB disappointed at ICC’s decision to impose four-match ban on Sarfraz Ahmed)

Usman Khan bhai was exceptional today. In fact, not only him, I must mention the names of Shaheen Shah and Mohammad Amir. Early wickets are key in this format. He [Usman] was struggling but the way he bowled today was exceptional. Even our two spinners. Of course, he was man of the match but in my opinion all five bowlers bowled exceptionally well.

“Overall, it was an all-round performance which is pretty satisfying for our dressing room. It is not about performing in one department and lacking in other. If you perform in one department, you should keep up with the same pace in the others as well.”

With all to play for, the series will be decided when both teams meet in the fifth and final ODI at Newlands in Cape Town on January 30. If Pakistan win the series, it will be their second consecutive bilateral series win over South Africa in South Africa.

The last time Pakistan toured South Africa in 2013 under the leadership of Misbah-ul-Haq, they became the first Asian side to register a one-day series win over the Proteas in their own backyard.