South Africa vs Pakistan 2nd ODI: After receiving a 3-0 drubbing in the Test series, Pakistan turned up with a much solid performance to rock back South Africa on the back foot at the beginning of the white-ball leg of the tour. Their batting, which let them down during the Tests, played a key role in driving them to a comfortable 5-wicket victory in the first ODI.
The action now moves to Durban for the second game. With the World Cup not far away, it is imperative for both sides to win the ODI series, carry some momentum and confidence heading into the mega event. The Proteas seemed complacent and the ploy to not attack with 8 wickets remaining was assuredly debatable. A win here would move Pakistan one step closer to a famous win in the rainbow nation but do they have the quality?
Venue: Kingsmead, Durban
Durban, once renowned to have one of the fastest tracks in world cricket is slowly losing the juice out of its 22-yard strip. From 1992 to the end of 2009, in the first 17 years of the ground, fast bowlers had an average of 32.01 runs per wicket to complement the strike rate of 41.4 balls per wicket. In the same period, spinners averaged 41.76 with a strike rate of 51.9.
Since 2010, the spinners have overpowered pacers in terms of numbers. They average 38.0 striking at a rate of 44.1, both better than that of the pacers (average 42.39, strike rate 44.0).
As a result, the average run rate at the ground has also increased from 4.30 to 5.17 runs per over concerning the same time period. Since the last edition of the World Cup, it has considerably increased to 5.73 in 4 games.
As the data suggest, the batsmen now have much more time to settle in at the Kingsmead, making it one of the better batting friendly tracks in South Africa.
South Africa: South Africa may not make any changes in their batting line-up which was hardly tested with Hashim Amla and Rassie van der Dussen playing out the majority of the overs. Their bowling, however, failed to make any impact that can prompt them to explore other options.
Hashim Amla, Reeza Hendricks, Rassie van der Dussen, Faf du Plessis, David Miller, Heinrich Klaasen, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwayne Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Imran Tahir, Duanne Olivier/Dane Paterson
Pakistan: The visitors hardly need to make any changes to their XI. Their bowlers took only 2 wickets but applied the shackles on the Proteas’ batsmen beautifully towards the end of the innings.
Imam Ul Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Usman Khan/Shaheen Shah Afridi
As discussed above, the predilection of the Kingsmead track has shifted towards the batsmen. Number 3 has been the most fruitful batting position in the four games at the venue since the World Cup.
Both Babar Azam and Rassie vd Dussen have been in great form which makes them automatic picks for your Fantasy sides. Besides them, skipper Faf du Plessis and hometown boy, David Miller have extracted the most out of the Durban track, both scoring at an average in excess of 50. Faf du Plessis, in particular, has scored hundreds in each of his last two outings in Durban.
Hashim Amla may not average 50 here but 39.50 runs per dismissal is never a bad number for an opener. Given the fluency he showed with the bat in the first ODI, omitting him would be a big risk.
In other options, Imam Ul Haq also made a good case for himself with a pristine 86 in the first game while looking at ease against Rabada and Co.
The all-rounders’ quota does not offer many promising prospects apart from the Professor, Mohammad Hafeez who won the man-of-the-match award in the series opener.
Apart from him, Phehlukwayo, Pretorius and Faheem Ashraf were largely ineffective in the first game. On the other hand, there are chances that Imad Wasim might sit out making Hafeez the only choice for the all-rounder slot.
The first bowler that comes to mind while picking the XI for a game involving South Africa is Kagiso Rabada, but for this game, one should make that an exception. The Durban pitch has been a graveyard for right-arm fast bowlers post World Cup 2015, especially in comparison with their left-arm counterparts.
The strike rate for the bowlers in the first 10 overs have been 67.5 which means on most occasions since the last World Cup, the opening pair has remained unseparated after 10 overs.
In addition to that, Durban has been one of the most ineffective home venues for Rabada with a bowling average of 53.5 and strike rate of 56.2.
Slow bowlers will be the ones to look out for in this game. Imran Tahir has a decent record with this being his home ground. Shadab Khan bowled with impeccable control in Port Elizabeth and his batting abilities make him a tempting pick.
Hasan Ali falls in the same category. Shaheen Shah is another enticing pick for the 4th bowler’s spot with decent chances of getting picked in the second ODI after warming the bench in Port Elizabeth.
Wicket-keeping slot here is more about filling a slot considering Sarfaraz Ahmed and Heinrich Klaasen’s struggle with the bat off late and the one who concedes lesser credits is a better option here.
Fantasy Cricket XI for South Africa vs Pakistan 2nd ODI
Hashim Amla, Babar Azam (c), Rassie van der Dussen, Faf du Plessis (vc), Mohammad Hafeez, David Miller, Heinrich Klaasen, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Imran Tahir, Shaheen Afridi
Captain and Vice-Captain
Investing in batsmen for the leadership roles seems to be the best option here. Babar Azam was in flawless form during the Test series while Faf du Plessis will be raring to go at one of his favourites grounds in South Africa as a batsman.
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