Pakistan vs South Africa 1st ODI – Pakistan’s comeback or SA’s whack? | Pakistan Today

Pakistan vs South Africa 1st ODI – Pakistan’s comeback or SA’s whack?

ABU DHABI: Winning the toss and batting first in the two T20s proved fruitless for Pakistan as their batting line up flopped two days running as South Africans completed two easy wins to take the T20 series. With the first ODI of the five match series to be played today at Abu Dhabi, Pakistan team need to seriously do something about their batting.
Pakistan batting is flopping for quite sometime now and they need solidity. Younis Khan will be returning to the side which can strengthen the line up but he too doesn’t have a magic wand which can correct all the anomalies. Every batsmen needs to get in and contribute starting from the top. Even though its ODI cricket yet you have to do the basics right like occupying the crease and playing the full quota of overs.
Also prudent use of batting Power Play is vital and should be used when wickets are in hand and batsmen are set rather leaving it till the last five overs with tailenders in. The bowling will also have to be more penetrative as South Africans have got solid batting line which will be bolstered by the return of in-form and world class players like Jacques Kallis and Hashim Amla.
Spinners can do the trick for Pakistan but for that Shahid Afridi will have to deliver with the ball as his bowling has lacked the bite since he took over the captaincy. Proteas in the meanwhile are in form and will be confident of another good show. Hashim Amla will be returning to the side as will be Jacques Kallis both of whom are top notch players.
In bowling Charl Langeveldt is expected to come in but Dale Steyn’s inclusion remain under a cloud owing to injury. South Africans also have the edge of their superior fielding which can make a lot of difference in ODIs. In batting the likes of Greame Smith, Kallis, Amla and JP Duminy will be the main weapons for South Africa. Also their bowlers especially Morne Morkel can trouble Pakistanis with his extra speed and bounce – something Pakistani batsmen aren’t much used to deal efficiently.
Both teams will take this ODI series as part of their preparation for the World Cup which isn’t far away. Pakistan needs to get their combination right and give a determined show in all departments if they are to hold their own against a skillful South African side which also has the form with them. Pakistan team needs to believe in themselves and make a concerted effort as they certainly have the talent and require determination to deliver.
Players to look out for: Saeed Ajmal can present his opponents with formidable problems with his ingenious off spinners. Ajmal is always a threat in limited overs cricket with his varieties especially the “Doosra”. Proteas are vulnerable to quality spin and in Ajmal they have a difficult proposition to deal with.
Hashim Amla is the form of his life especially in ODIs. He has scores of 129, 45, 110, 110 and 24 in the last five ODIs he has played. Amla is a neat willow wielder at the top of the order who can dent the Pakistanis badly.
Head-to-head & Conditions: South Africans enjoy a superior ODI record against Pakistan winning 35 out of the 52 games played between the two sides. Conditions are expected to be dry and hot in Abu Dhabi once again and bowling first will be a good option given the “Dew Factor” which can come into play in the second innings of the day and night encounter.
Expected line-ups:
England: Smith, Amla, Kallis, de Villiers, Duminy, Ingram, A Morkel, Botha, M Morkel, Theron, Langeveldt.
Pakistan: Farhat, Hafeez, Younis, Misbah, U Akmal, Afridi, A Razzaq, Zulqarnain, Akhtar, Gul, Ajmal.

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