It was a quirk of the schedule of T20 World Cup warm up matches that Pakistan, England and New Zealand were all sent to play at the same venue on the same day.
Besides a number of rather more serious issues, Pakistan’s preparations for this tournament were hindered after both those teams opted out of tours to the country last month.
New Zealand cited a security threat for not touring, while England followed suit without any explanation of substance.
Whether there is any lingering animosity will likely be seen when the sides meet in the competition proper. Pakistan are due to face New Zealand in Sharjah on Tuesday October 26.
As it was, the sides were kept apart at the Tolerance Oval in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. England and New Zealand met in the early match of the day, while Pakistan took on South Africa at 6pm, while the first round matches were taking place just over the wall in the Zayed Cricket Stadium.
After their morale-lifting win over West Indies in their first warm up match, Pakistan suffered a setback as they were beaten off the last ball by South Africa.
Fakhar Zaman top scored with 52 from 28 balls as they made 186-6 from their 20 overs, before he retired.
They appeared to have the game under control, but for an extraordinary innings by Rassie van der Dussen.
The Proteas were left needing 19 off the final over from Hasan Ali to win. They made 23, including a four off the final ball which took Van der Dussen to 101 not out from 51 balls.
Earlier in the afternoon, England won the meeting of the two finalists from the most recent 50-over World Cup.
Jos Buttler, who skipped the Indian Premier League which preceded this World Cup in order to be fresh for this, hinted he is already up to speed ahead of the meeting with West Indies in England’s opener on Saturday.
He made 73 from 51 balls as England reached 163-6 in the second warm up game, two days after they had lost out to India in Dubai.
Mark Wood took four for 23 on a day when fellow fast bowler Tymal Mills returned to an England shirt for the first time in four years.
The left-armer went wicketless, but was thrifty enough as he conceded 23 from his four overs. Adil Rashid’s leg-spin also proved productive, as he took three for 18.
New Zealand eventually lost by 13 runs, as they were bowled out for 150 in 19.2 overs, but it might have been worse were it not for a 10th wicket stand worth 47 between No 10 Ish Sodhi and No 11 Todd Astle.