Both teams bowling looks very strong with the exception of an odd bowler, but it’s the batsmen who will dictate the terms of this series. Pakistan have no reliable batsman except for Misbah who failed in the last game, whereas South Africa have quite a few decent batsmen but none who can be relied upon to score runs at all times. With Amla and Steyn not available for this game, the South African team is without their 2 key players but they do have the ability to win.
The Pakistan openers had started the innings so slowly that it put all pressure on the fragile middle order. Shehzad did manage to take personal strike rate to a decent amount, but the result indicates it may be a little too late. Hafeez too usualy gets a start but can rarely convert them into big ones, and that is where the Pakistani batsmen lack the quality, probably which India don’t. Misbah hopes to not have a bat, but that is possible only in the rarest of cases.
South Africa have the selection dilemma of Kock vs Ingram, and the only reason Kock holds the upper hand is because he is a opener and would also help Devillers by freeing him from keeping duties. Since Kallis has not features in ODI’s, they also have a huge no.3 headache, and none of AbDevilers, Duminy or Faf have seemed to click there. On the other hand, Ryan Mclaren seems to have solved their no.7 by playing sensibly at that position, but he has a long way to go yet. With Amla not available for this match, extra responsibility lies on Smith’s shoulders.
Pakistan: Nasir Jamshed, Ahmed Shehzad, Mohd. Hafeez, Misbah ul Haq (c), Umar Akmal (wk), Umar Amin/Asad Shafiq, Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal, Wahab Riaz, Mohd. Irfan, Sohail Tanvir
X-Factor: Saeed Ajmal is the world’s best bowler for a reason, and that reason is he regularly picks up wickets. He has been Pakistan’s leading bowler for a long time now, and has rarely disappointed. Even in the last match he picked up 4 wickets, which gave Pakistan the upper hand. This is his best chance to perform even better, especially since he is playing on spinning and low scoring tracks, which will not be the case when Pakistan tour abroad. Though he may be a little expensive, if he has a god day he is a must in your fantasy team.
South Africa: De Kock(wk), Graeme Smith, Faf du Plessis, Ab Devillers (c), JP Duminy, David Miller, Ryan Mclaren, Wayne Parnell, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir
X-Factor: Faf Du Plessis is nowhere performing near the type of player he is. His performances in the last 12-15 months have been very disappointing, but he is an immensely talented cricketer and has a good cricketing brain too. His case is like that of Rohit Sharma, but the only question is, how long can South Africa persist with him after the likes of Amla return? Fitting into the top 6 with some world class batsmen is tough, and he has to start performing or else he will be treated the same way Behardien was dealt with, dropped.
Expected Result: Pakistan Win