Very few had given a chance for Pakistan to trump South Africa in the first of the five-match ODI series. But with the action returning to Port Elizabeth, the venue where Pakistan is yet to lose an ODI, the visitors brought the best out of themselves and chased down the 266-run total without much fuss. Despite leading the series, no one is assured of them extending their lead only because of Pakistan unpredictability.
Sarfaraz Ahmed will be delighted with the way the batsmen performed in the pressure chase. However, he should be definitely worried about the bowlers. Pakistan managed to pick only two wickets in 50 overs and surely, the Proteas won’t be making the same mistake once again and will go for the kill if the same situation arises in this game. Only Shadab Khan looked impressive in the series opener and Faheem Ashraf delivered his yorkers well at the death.
Pakistan have a decent record at the Kingsmead winning five out of eight matches and they would love to continue in the same vein and make it 2-0 in the series.
South Africa had only themselves to blame after the first ODI. Nobody knew why they didn’t accelerate in the last 10 overs despite having wickets in hand. The ploy has come back to haunt them and are in a situation where they can’t afford another blip in the series. The debutant Rassie van der Dussen proved that he belongs to this level and Hashim Amla‘s return in form is also a huge plus for the home side.
The Proteas have won 20 out of 36 matches in Durban and they will be hopeful of adding yet another win to their kitty.
Pitch and Conditions
The average first innings score at the Kingsmead is 237 in 44 matches and the fact that the game will be played under the lights will lead will only make it easier to bat later. With small square boundaries on offer, expect the team winning the toss to bowl first. As far as the climate is concerned, it will be sunny to start with but will rain later in the evening around 7 PM and the chances of the same increase deep into the night.
South Africa are unlikely to make any changes after just one loss and they might give another go to the same set of players. Reeza Hendricks and Amla will open the innings while the newbie Van der Dussen will bat at three. The skipper Faf du Plessis and David Miller are expected to follow then with the likes of Heinrich Klaasen and Dwaine Pretorius giving the final touch to the innings.
Kagiso Rabada look off colour the other day and will be looking to make amends. Duanne Olivier also didn’t have a great debut while Imran Tahir will look after the spin bowling duties.
Probable XI: Hashim Amla, Reeza Hendricks, Rassie van der Dussen, Faf du Plessis (c), David Miller, Heinrich Klaasen, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Imran Tahir, Duanne Olivier.
There is no reason for the Men in Green to change the winning combination. But Usman Khan didn’t look fit in the series opener and might get replaced by either Shaheen Afridi or Mohammad Amir. Imam-ul-Haq is in great form and Fakhar Zaman will assist him at the top of the order while the ever consistent Babar Azam and the veterans Hafeez and Shoaib Malik form the strongest middle-order.
Sarfaraz’s form is still not great. Shadab Khan and Faheem Ashraf are proven all-rounders with Imad Wasim being the other spinner. Hasan Ali was absolutely exceptional in the last game and the management would be hoping for him to continue bowling the same way.
Probable XI: Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Sarfaraz Ahmed (c & wk), Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Imad Wasim, Mohmmad Amir/Shaheen Afridi, Hasan Ali.
Probable Top Performers
Reeza Hendricks – South Africa | Fakhar Zaman – Pakistan
TV – Sony ESPN and Sony ESPN HD
Live Streaming – Sony LIV
Match Timings – 16:30 IST; 13:00 local
The prediction is for the toss to play a crucial role as defending is tough on small grounds like the Kingsmead.