Pakistan hit back in Bloemfontein to level the five-match series 1-1, and now have the momentum heading into Saturday’s match at the Wanderers. After a shoddy first ODI, the tourists were inspired by their bowlers – in particular Mohammad Irfan, the Man of the Match – who bowled South Africa out for 191 on Friday, and will hope to move upwards in the series.
The major focus is on Irfan, who picked up a hamstring injury during the win and is doubt for the third match. The left-arm quick’s four wickets in a seven-over spell left South Africa at 62 for 5 in 11 overs, and the hosts proceeded to stumble. The first ten overs in Bloemfontein decided the match, as Pakistan’s captain Misbah-ul-Haq admitted, and a rejuvenated Pakistan will hope that Irfan is passed fit. Their battery of fast bowlers should aim to make inroads early, especially with South African openers Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla short of runs.
Where Pakistan need to improve – and this is most always the case – is with the bat. Nasir Jamshed made 10 in the last game to extend his poor run in South Africa, and Mohammad Hafeez got a start before Dale Steyn removed him for the fifth time on tour. Kamran Akmal’s promotion to No. 3 also flopped, leaving Misbah and Shoaib Malik to see Pakistan across the finish line.
South Africa know they cannot relax against Pakistan’s attack. Their top three all edged to Kamran behind the stumps and AB de Villiers steered to second slip. In Johannesburg they could be the ones dominating in conditions expected to assist seam bowling, should Steyn and the rest of the quicks tighten up their act. Morne Morkel has not featured in the series yet and looks primed to return at the expense of left-arm pacer Lonwabo Tsotsobe who has one wicket at 89.
South Africa: 1 Graeme Smith 2 Hashim Amla 3 AB de Villiers (capt/wk), 4 Colin Ingram, 5 Faf du Plessis, 6 Farhaan Behardien, 7 Ryan McLaren 8 Robin Peterson 9 Rory Kleinveldt, 10 Kyle Abbott, 11Morne Morkel
Pakistan: 1 Nasir Jamshed, 2 Mohammed Hafeez, 3 Younis Khan, 4 Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), 5 Shoaib Malik, 6 Kamran Akmal (wk), 7 Shahid Afridi, 8 Umar Gul, 9 Saeed Ajmal, 10 Junaid Khan, 11 Mohammad Irfan/Wahab Riaz