Man of the Match: Mohammad Hafeez
South Africa to win
Our Prediction is South Africa to win!
Hosts South Africa will be keen to continue their winning momentum when they will face Pakistan in the opening game of the one-day series in St George’s Park, Port Elizabeth on Saturday. Earlier, the home side completed a clean sweep over Pakistan in the Test series.
Skipper Faf du Plessis will be hoping that they can start the one-day series against Pakistan on a positive note.
In their previous meeting in ICC Champions Trophy 2017, it was Pakistan who came out on top courtesy of splendid bowling performances from Hasan Ali and Imad Wasim.
On the other hand, Pakistan will look to turn their fortunes around in the five-match one-day series. Sarfaraz and co. will be keen to produce their best with bat and ball against South Africa.
The home side has included uncapped players like Rassie Van der Dussen and Duanne Olivier for the first two games of the one-day series. Aiden Markram was the last minute inclusion in the one-day squad as wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock and pacer Dale Steyn have been rested.
In the batting department, the home side will be heavily depending on Captain Faf du Plessis, who has been consistent performer in the limited-overs cricket over the past couple of years. Since Jan 2017, Du Plessis has topped the batting charts for South Africa with 1339 runs in 27 matches at an average of 60.86.
The one-day series will provide an opportunity for veteran batsman Hashim Amla to redeem himself after managing to score just 315 runs in 11 matches at an average of 28.63. Last year, Amla struggled to get going in the white-ball cricket and only scored half-centuries for South Africa.
In the bowling department, the dependence will be on the likes of Kagiso Rabada, Imran Tahir and Andile Phehlukwayo to produce crucial breakthroughs for the side. Dwaine Pretorius, Tabraiz Shamsi and Dane Paterson are other bowling options for South Africa for the five-match one-day series.
Faf du Plessis (c), Heinrich Klaasen (wk), Aiden Markram, Reeza Hendricks, Rassie Van Der Dussen, Hashim Amla, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Imran Tahir, Kagiso Rabada, Dane Paterson/Duanne Olivier.
Imran Tahir, Rassie van der Dussen, Heinrich Klaasen, Reeza Hendricks, Duanne Olivier, David Miller, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Andile Phehlukwayo, Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis
The visitors will be desperate to turn things around after suffering a whitewash at the hands of South Africa in the Test series.
Mohammad Amir has earned his comeback to the limited-overs squad due to his good performances in the three-match Test series against South Africa. Left-arm quick will be keen to find form with the ball in the one-day series.
All-rounder Hussain Talat and Shan Masood are also included in the Pakistan’s ODI squad for the series.
The side will be relying on the likes of Fakhar Zaman, who topped the batting charts in limited-overs cricket last season with 737 runs in 14 matches at an average of 67.00.
Imam-ul-Haq and Babar Azam also have been in excellent form and will be keen to score heavily in this one-day series.
Mohammad Hafeez, Sarfaraz Ahmed and Shoaib Malik are experienced players in the batting lineup that will need to produce consistency with the bat for Pakistan.
In the bowling department, the side will be relying on the likes of Usman Khan Shinwari, Mohammad Amir and Hasan Ali to provide crucial breakthroughs with the new-ball. Leg-spinner Shadab Khan and left-arm spinner Imad Wasim are two spin options for this game.
Sarfaraz Ahmed (c &wk), Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Hussain Talat, Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Hasan Ali, Usman Khan Shinwari/Mohammad Amir/Shaheen Shah Afridi.
Mohammad Hafeez, Shadab Khan, Usman Khan, Babar Azam, SI Wasim, F Zaman, Hasan Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Shoaib Malik, Faheem Ashraf, Sarfraz Ahmed
Traditionally, the pitch at St George’s Park might favor the spinners in general. The quick bowlers will get bounce from the surface. The weather forecast for the game on Saturday is going to be cloudy.
The St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth has hosted a lot of international games since South Africa’s readmission in 1992. The last game played was day-night contest between hosts South Africa and India in Feb 2018. Port Elizabeth has been a happing hunting ground for Pakistan, who have won two out of three games played at the venue.
Since it is day-night fixture, it will ideal for the side to win the toss and bat first. With overcast conditions predicted, the quick bowlers might get assistance from the surface in the second half of the game.
Hosts South Africa will be favorites to win the contest as they are playing at home. The home side has quality players like Hashim Amla, David Miller and Kagiso Rabada in their ranks. On the other hand, Pakistan’s main Achilles heel has been their batting so far on this tour. The green shirts will need to improve their batting in order to put up a strong fight against South Africa in this series.
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