Visitors hold the aces going into series decider
South Africa edged Pakistan in the second ODI, at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg winning by 17 runs. In a normal situation, they would hold the advantage going into the series decider on Wednesday. However, the momentum will be neutralised because five of the starting XI have flown out to the Indian Premier League and will not take any further part in this series, against Pakistan’s ODI team. They will also miss the T20Is to follow.
Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi, Quinton De Kock and David Miller have all left the squad to join up with their respective franchises. This means that players who are on the fringes of the Proteas ODI team will likely fill in. Pakistan, on the other hand, has a fully fit and available squad to choose from.
The Fakhar Zaman show
Pakistan’s ODI team had only man to thank for their fightback – Fakhar Zaman. Despite coming off a relatively lean run, the left-handed opener dazzled at the Bullring. He unfurled shots with tremendous power to leave South Africa stunned. At one point, the match seemed over but Zaman played a calculating innings, taking risks when necessary, to take the game deep. His 193 is now the highest-ever score in an ODI run chase, surpassing Shane Watson’s 185 against Bangladesh in 2011.
Should be build on such form shown, South Africa will need to be wary, especially with their main bowlers missing. The third ODI will again be played at Supersport Park, Centurion.
Rassie Van Der Dussen has been the most consistent batsman so far in the series. He scored a fabulous century in the first ODI to revive South Africa’s innings and then showed a different side to his game in the second, pulverising 60 from just 37 balls. Rassie has had a barely-believable start to his ODI career so far. In 23 games, he has scored 890 runs at a batting average of 81. His strike rate of 86 is also healthy.
He has a solid technique against both spin and pace and can rotate strike easily. An ever-improving power game means that he could be amongst the best ODI batsmen in the world very soon.
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South Africa still have a lot of talent in reserve and those players who will fill in, will want to make a name for themselves. The Proteas team has still places up for grabs. For example Lungi Ngidi has been average in both games so far, while Aiden Markram has failed to capitalise on good starts.
The likes of Janneman Malan and Keshav Maharaj both have good international records for South Africa and will be looking to show off their talent to the selectors. The next Cricket World Cup is in 2023 and there is certainly no harm in performing well at the moment.
Shadab Khan’s misfortune
Shadab Khan, the Pakistani leg-spinner has been ruled out of the entire South African tour. He suffered an injury to his left toe while batting in the second ODI at Johannesburg. An x-ray was conducted and a small fracture was revealed. Shadab will now be looked at by the physios and will likely undergo a four-week rehab, in order to regain full fitness.
The leg-spinner tweeted that “I am working very hard to be fit and help Pakistan win matches in the future.”
No replacement has been named in Pakistan’s ODI team as of yet, with two options already being available in the current squad.
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Pakistan’s ODI team: Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam (C), Mohammad Rizwan, Haider Ali, Sarfaraz Ahmed (WK), Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Nawaz/ Usman Qadir, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Hasnain.
South Africa’s ODI team: Janneman Malan, Aiden Markram, Temba Bavuma (C), Heinrich Klaasen (WK), Rassie Van Der Dussen, Kyle Verreynne, Andile Phehlukwayo, Keshav Maharaj, Lutho Sipamla, Beuran Hendricks, Tabraiz Shamsi.
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