South Africa vs Pakistan 2nd ODI Preview

Written by Maverick White for @HollywoodbetsFollow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!

South Africa vs Pakistan | Friday 15 March | Centurion | 14:30

A comfortable and convincing victory over Pakistan in the first ODI will reignite public admiration for the Proteas in the limited overs arena. There’s already talk of how settled they looked, how in control of the game they were and how the ‘fringe’ players in the side stepped up to the plate following doubt in their abilities at international level. That is not to say it is not admirable but in my opinion, Pakistan simply made too many mistakes. Whether the tourists have the ability to rectify these mistakes is another question entirely, one that will surely be answered at Centurion.


To Win:
South Africa 5/10
Tie 35/1
Pakistan 16/10

South Africa
The Proteas have firmly turned their attention the Champions Trophy in June and minus the two frontline quicks in Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, are playing their full-strength side. It’s clear now that Jacques Kallis doesn’t really factor into future ODI plans as the Proteas strive to find an adequate replacement. Dale Steyn should make a reappearance following a trip to America but Morkel is still in doubt with a hamstring injury. Colin Ingram’s picture perfect century on Sunday has seen him make a strong claim for a permanent position at first drop, despite coming in at number four as AB de Villiers promoted himself to three. What is worrying for me is the fact that Ingram has a fantastic record in Bloemfontein and against Pakistan, which often conspires to mask the fact that he has been pretty inconsistent at international level. Nevertheless, de Villiers and Ingram’s partnership was a joy to watch as they absorbed the pressure of two quick Pakistani wickets and worked the ball around the park to score quickly, yet quietly. They punished the bad balls when they had their eyes in and despite AB falling to a terrible stroke, Ingram marched on to his century. Kleinveldt and McLaren were impressive with the ball and wrapped up the Pakistani for a paltry 190, 125 runs short of the Proteas’ 315/4.

Pakistan
Following their T20 win, Pakistan were soaring. The first ODI loss will have brought them back down to ground somewhat and has also allowed your faithful writer the perfect opportunity for dissection. Everything just seemed to go wrong for cricket’s perpetual travellers but the problems they encountered won’t be new ones. Captain Misbah indicated as much post-match. He made the wrong decision after winning the toss and put too much emphasis on his spin contingent on an unresponsive pitch. Pakistan were a seamer short on a flat wicket, which yet again points the finger of blame at the selectors after widespread controversy over the set-up. Yes, the pitch was docile but Pakistan required greater penetration with the ball, which was not forthcoming and exacerbated by a sloppy effort in the field. Their batsmen did not get nearly close enough to the challenging total and Pakistan are left wondering, yet again, which of their batsmen has the ability to bat for a prolonged period of time and force the game. A possible solution would be moving the explosive Kamran Akmal up the order. He started his career opening the batting and has a great record doing so. He’s clearly in the team for his batting; his wicket-keeping is not up to scratch. Well, not enough to warrant his inclusion. A move up the order may solve Pakistan’s problems of stability and would also give him more of chance to express himself with the bat.

Venue
If Pakistan persist with a majority spin attack, it will be a long day for them at Centurion. The pace bowlers are the one who will thrive on the lively wicket. Since 2009, the Proteas’ record at the ground has been a little shaky. Pakistan played twice here in 2009 during the Champions Trophy, where they won one and lost one. The forecast is partly cloudy with little chance of rain.

BEST: Top South Africa Batsman, Hashim Amla 11/4
Although I’m usually loathe to back the favourite in this market, Amla’s form at Centurion is undeniable. He positively loves playing here. The pace of wicket suits his style of play, as he loves the ball coming onto the bat, giving him the opportunity to use those lightning quick reflexes. Expect a ton from the mighty Hash.

VERDICT: South Africa 5/10
Although I feel this will be a much closer encounter with the Pakistanis ironing out some of the obvious creases, the Proteas should have enough to take it. A superior pace attack and a batting line-up with the constant prospect of a centurion ticks all the boxes needed for me.

Disagree with Maverick? Let us hear your thoughts. Please comment below.