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South Africa & Pakistan Seek to Plug Holes as Series Reaches Third Stop

Expect more at Centurion on Friday as South Africa, intent on getting their combination right in the build-up to the World Cup, have brought back their seasoned pros Quinton de Kock & Dale Steyn and an added uncapped fast bowler Beuran Hendricks in place of Duanne Olivier, Dane Paterson, and Heinrich Klaasen.

Cricketnext Staff |January 25, 2019, 2:32 PM IST
South Africa & Pakistan Seek to Plug Holes as Series Reaches Third Stop

Billed as a battle between two of the better bowling attacks in world cricket, South Africa and Pakistan have provided plenty of entertainment in the two ODIs so far of their five-match series. Expect more at Centurion on Friday as South Africa, intent on getting their combination right in the build-up to the World Cup, have brought back their seasoned pros Quinton de Kock & Dale Steyn and an added uncapped fast bowler Beuran Hendricks in place of Duanne Olivier, Dane Paterson, and Heinrich Klaasen.

Pakistan will be keen to move past the controversy caused by their captain Sarfraz Ahmed’s stump-mic remarks during the second game in Durban and will be focused on providing adequate batting support to their bowlers. Shaheen Afridi and Shadab Khan have troubled the Proteas so far in the series. In the first ODI, the visitors bowled their way back into the game, while in the second the hosts survived by the skin of their teeth.

South Africa suffered an unexpected batting collapse in Durban, before Rassie van der Dussen and Andile Phehlukwayo came to the rescue, ensuring they would not come into the third tie with their backs to the wall. While the bowling department isn’t a pleasant sight for the opposition, South Africa’s batsmen so far have either struggled to make a good start count or crumbled under pressure.

De Kock’s return to the top of the order shows the Proteas are falling back on their experienced hands and are worried about suffering batting collapses. The likes of Imran Tahir and Tabraiz Shamsi have been excellent and the return of Steyn will only add to the firepower alongside the in-form Kagiso Rabada and Phehlukwayo.

The visitors took many by surprise with a fluent batting display in the first ODI which they eventually won by five wickets, only to go back to square one in the second game.

Batting – always an area of concern for Pakistan, has seen the young Imam-ul-haq along with the likes of Fakhar Zaman, Babar Zaman and Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik have all got starts before squandering them. Only Imam and Hafeez have made a mark so far and with the World Cup around the corner Sarfraz Ahmed, the team’s top scorer in Durban, will need the rest to step up.

While all the permutations and combinations can be worked on and plans put in place, which Pakistan side turns up on the day will go a long way in deciding how the contest plays out. South Africa, on the other hand, will look to raise the bar and stay consistent with the World Cup looming.

Squads:

South Africa: Faf du Plessis(c), Hashim Amla, Reeza Hendricks, Imran Tahir, Quinton de Kock, David Miller, Beuran Hendricks, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen, Aiden Markram, Dale Steyn

Pakistan: Sarfaraz Ahmed(c), Babar Azam, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Hasan Ali, Hussain Talat, Imad Wasim, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Rizwan, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Shan Masood, Shoaib Malik, Usman Khan

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Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 5046 120
2 New Zealand 3241 112
3 South Africa 3177 102
4 England 4593 102
5 Australia 3672 102
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Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6745 125
2 India 7364 121
3 New Zealand 4837 112
4 Australia 5543 111
5 South Africa 5193 110
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 8366 270
2 Australia 6986 269
3 England 5568 265
4 South Africa 4720 262
5 India 10071 258
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