South Africa vs Pakistan, 5th ODI, Preview: Momentum with the visitors going into the decider
South Africa have their own issues to deal with at the moment.
Updated - Jan 29, 2019 3:28 pm
A lot has transpired in the ODI series between South Africa and Pakistan. The hosts’ approach in the first game left many perplexed when they didn’t up the ante despite having nine wickets in the hand and it backfired on them badly. Pakistan then brought their unpredictability to the fore and more than the loss, Sarfaraz Ahmed‘s racial comments to Andile Phehlukwayo were the talk of the town. Then the rain-marred ODI favoured South Africa only for the visitors to make a stunning comeback.
In hindsight, Pakistan have played better cricket in this series so far. They were below par only in the second game only by just as the Proteas had almost botched up the chase at the halfway stage. If the rain hadn’t arrived at the wrong time in Centurion, the result might have been different given South Africa‘s record under pressure.
The Men in Green once again have the momentum on their side and would be looking to seal the ODI series once again after doing it in 2013. Though their regular captain Sarfaraz Ahmed is missing out owing to a four-match ban from the ICC, Shoaib Malik stepped up beautifully and didn’t let the occasion get to him. He will be hoping that all the eleven players give their best again at the Newlands.
South Africa, on the other hand, have their own issues to deal with. Their batting collapses are happening too often to their liking. Moreover, with the skipper Faf du Plessis admitting that some of the players are tired, it seems like there will be a few changes to their team for the crunch game. Wiaan Mulder has also been added to the squad for this game and it remains to be seen if the all-rounder is drafted straightaway into the XI.
South Africa might opt to leave out the experienced Hashim Amla and bring in the fresh legs of Aiden Markram at the top of the order. Quinton de Kock is fresh while Reeza Hendricks is also in good touch. David Miller and Faf du Plessis make up for a solid middle-order. Andile Phehukwayo might make way for Mulder for this game while the bowling attack is likely to bare the same look.
Probable XI: Aiden Markram, Quinton de Kock (wk), Reeza Hendricks, Faf du Plessis (c), Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Wiaan Mulder/Andile Phehlukwayo, Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada, Imran Tahir, Beuran Hendricks.
Pakistan are likely to go with the winning combination after a clinical performance barring any last minute injuries. Imam-ul-Haq is the highest run-getter of the series while Fakhar Zaman also seemed to have found his touch again in the previous game. Mohammad Hafeez and the skipper Malik bring a lot of experience to the team and with Babar Azam also in fine nick, Pakistan batting is looking stronger than ever.
Mohammad Rizwan will continue to don the gloves behind the wickets. Usman Khan, Mohammad Amir and Shaheen Afridi, the three-pronged left-arm pace attack, strangled South Africa in the previous game and the same is expected of them. Though the management can think of bringing in Hasan Ali at the expense of Amir who continues to struggle in the ODIs.
Probable XI: Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Amir, Usman Khan, Shaheen Afridi.
Focus will be on
David Miller (South Africa)
The South African summer has got used to witness a Miller special knock. Very few must have forgotten his assault on Bangladesh bowlers. What better than playing a similar kind of inning in the decider! His form is also not that great and the Proteas will just hope that he is in a good space of mind ahead of the World Cup. The left-hander needs just only one good outing to get the confidence back.
Shoaib Malik (Pakistan)
The veteran has surprisingly not had a great series so far. He has only mustered 64 runs in three outings so far. It will also be interesting to see if the added responsibility brings the best out of him. Malik and Hafeez are the vital cogs of this team in ODIs and their performance will more or less decide Pakistan’s fate in the decider.
Head to Head
Matches – 77 | South Africa won – 50 | Pakistan won – 26 | NR – 1
97 – Kagiso Rabada has accounted for 97 wickets in his ODI career so far. He needs only three wickets to enter the three-figure mark.
TV – Sony ESPN and Sony ESPN HD
Live Streaming – Sony LIV
Match Timings: 16:30 IST; 13:00 local