South Africa vs Pakistan 1st ODI: After a hard-fought test series between South Africa and Pakistan, the focus shifts back to white-ball cricket. With the World Cup only a few months away, the upcoming ODI series holds a little more relevance than usual.
Both South Africa and Pakistan have 10 ODIs left before the mega event, to settle on the most suited combination that can help them to lift the trophy. The Proteas can afford to experiment with their side and have already rested Quinton de Kock and Dale Steyn for the first two ODIs. But Pakistan will look to field a full-fledged XI after a 3-0 drubbing in the Test series.
Head To Head
South Africa has enjoyed an upper hand over Pakistan in terms of the head to head record.
P: 73, SA: 47, PAK: 25, NO RESULT: 1
In their last meeting, Pakistan defeated South Africa at a neutral venue in Birmingham during the Champions Trophy 2017.
Venue: St. George’s Park, Port Elizabeth
The St. George’s Park in Port Elizabeth will be the host to the series opener. It is a venue where South Africa have won 60.6% of their ODI games. It may seem like a good number but it is the second lowest win% among all the grounds where they have played ODI cricket at home. Appallingly, they have never been able to beat Pakistan at this ground.
St. George’s Park has also been one of the less fruitful grounds for batsmen. It has the third lowest batting average (27.21) among all South African cricket venues along with the second lowest average run rate (4.35).
Hashim Amla, Reeza Hendricks, Aiden Markram, Faf du Plessis, David Miller, Heinrich Klaasen, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Imran Tahir, Duanne Olivier, Dwayne Pretorious/Tabraiz Shamzi
Fakhar Zaman, Imam Ul Haq, Mohammad Hafeez, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim/Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Usman Khan
Fantasy Tips for South Africa vs Pakistan 1st ODI
It is a tough choice between Sarfaraz Ahmed and Heinrich Klaasen given their struggle with the bat before heading into the series. Sarfaraz has looked out of sorts and Klaasen has looked clueless against quality pace averaging only 19 against the fast bowlers so far in his career.
#5 and #3 have proven to be the most fruitful batting positions in Port Elizabeth. In the overall history of the venue, these batting slots have yielded batsmen runs at a rate of more than 30 runs per wicket. Even in the modern era (since 2010), #5 have averaged 45.83 runs per wicket while #3 average 41.71 – the only two batting positions with over 40 runs per wicket.
For South Africa, David Miller has made #5 his own after a splendid hundred in Australia. From the other end, Shoaib Malik, who is expected to bat at 5 for Pakistan, boasts a phenomenal record in South Africa scoring 440 runs at an average of 48.88.
At 3, Pakistan can have Mohammad Hafeez whose trouble on pace friendly tracks are well known while Aiden Markram is still finding his feet in the shorter formats of the game which makes both these batsmen a tricky pick.
Hashim Amla falls in a similar line. He has struggled with the bat off late but showed some signs of improvement during the Test series. Also, he will be coming back to Proteas’ white-ball cricket side after a break. What works in his favour is his decent record at the St. George’s Park where he averages 38.62 in 8 ODIs and his remarkable average of 46.16 against Pakistan.
At 4, both Babar Azam and Faf du Plessis were in decent form during the Test series. Faf has a hundred to his name in both, the last Test and last ODI that he played which vouches for his selection.
Andile Phehlukwayo and Mohammad Hafeez are the all-rounders certain to play the series opener. Hafeez’s brittle batting average of 16.66 does not support his cause and he has not bowled much in ODI cricket either. Phehlukwayo emerges as the only efficient pick for the all-rounder’s spot.
Port Elizabeth isn’t a productive ground for the batsmen and the fast bowlers have been the major destructors. The Pacers average 29.12 with the ball (33.21 since 2010) in comparison to 40.41 to that of the spinners (40.89 since 2010, still worse than pacers by a considerable margin).
However, the wrist spinners still cause a lot of harm at the Port Elizabeth track.
|Bowling Type||Average||Strike Rate||Economy|
Both teams have impactful wrist-spinners like Imran Tahir, Shadab Khan and Tabraiz Shamsi in their armoury.
Kagiso Rabada, however, does not have a great record on this strip with only 2 wickets to his name in three games but still remains the player to watch out for. Hasan Ali has looked off colour recently but Usman Khan Shinwari can be a great pick considering his BBL exploits.
Duanne Olivier can be another good pick but there’s no certainty over his inclusion in South Africa’s XI.
Recommended XI: Hashim Amla, Babar Azam, Faf du Plessis (c), Shoaib Malik, David Miller, Sarfraz Ahmed, Shadab Khan (vc), Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Imran Tahir, Usman Khan Shinwari
Captain and Vice-Captain
Faf du Plessis, on the back of his form is the best pick do double your points. Kagiso Rabada and Shadab Khan have taken 23 wickets each since January 1, 2018, the highest among both the sides. But Shadab’s batting potential gives him an upper hand over Rabada to nail the vice-captain duties.
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