Spirited Pakistan look to keep pressure on South Africa

After a morale-boosting five-wicket win in Port Elizabeth, Pakistan will look to build on the momentum and keep the pressure on South Africa when the two teams collide again in the second One-day International of the five-match series at the Kingsmead in Durban on Tuesday (January 22). Despite losing just two wickets, South Africa only managed 266 runs on the board. Hashim Amla (120-ball 108*) and debutant Rassie van der Dussen (101-ball 93) batted well but failed to up the ante in the final 10 overs. They could only score 76 runs in the last 60 deliveries on a track that was batting-friendly and ended up posting what Mohammad Hafeez termed a “below par score”.

While Amla, Reeza Hendricks and van der Dussen scored a decent amount of runs, not once it looked like they are trying to create pressure on the Pakistan bowlers. The trio will once again be expected to get South Africa off to a solid start but they will have to do that at a good pace. Amla just played his natural game but it was services of Quinton de Kock, who is rested for first two ODIs along with Dale Steyn, that the Proteas missed. Big hitters like David Miller, Heinrich Klaasen and Andile Phehlukwayo, or even skipper Faf du Plessis didn’t get an opportunity to showcase their skills and South Africa will have to make sure that they make full use of their available resources. Which means the top order will have to take more risks than they did in the first ODI.

Dwaine Pretorius and Imran Tahir bowled economical spells and Duanne Olivier, who was Player of the Series in South Africa’s 3-0 whitewash over the Sarfaraz Ahmed-led side in Tests, scalped two wickets at an expense of 73 runs. Bowlers did well to stretch the game till the final over but they will require more runs from their batting group to pose threat to the attacking Pakistani batsmen. After struggling to get going in the Test series, the likes of Imam-ul-Haq (86), Fakhar Zaman (25) and Babar Azam (49) looked in pretty good touch and gave Pakistan a perfect platform, before Hafeez smashed an unbeaten 63-ball 71 to get the job done for the visiting side.

Pakistan will also be pleased with the way their bowlers performed in the first match. Hasan Ali and Shadab Khan, in particular, were the standout stars. The pitch at Kingsmead is slightly spin friendly and that will help the touring team even more. Pakistan, however, will expect their bowlers to strike early considering South Africa are not the type of team who will keep repeating the same mistakes.

Squads

South Africa: Faf du Plessis (capt), Hashim Amla, Reeza Hendricks, Imran Tahir, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Dane Paterson, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen, Aiden Markram, Duanne Olivier.

Pakistan: Sarfaraz Ahmed (capt), 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.

Published in Daily Times, January 22nd 2019.