Pakistan won a final ball thriller in the first match of the series to seize the initiative from the home side.
Image Copyright – Steve Haag Sports
The Proteas will need to turn things around quickly if they are to stay in the series and continue their excellent record in Pink Day ODIs.
South Africa vs Pakistan | Sunday 4 April 2021 | The Wanderers, Johannesburg | 10:00
The South Africa top order still looks to be this team’s weakpoint and probably cost the team victory in the series opener.
Rassie van der Dussen scored a maiden ODI century, but the Proteas need more from the rest of the batsmen. David Miller played his part well but a flurry of early wickets held the home side back.
The Proteas bowlers made it interesting, with Andile Phehlukwayo coming within a whisker of pulling off a brilliant last over defence.
South Africa must settle the question of who their designated death bowlers are and stick to them.
Skipper Temba Bavuma must learn how and when to use the variety of bowling weapons at his disposal, particularly harnessing the wicket-taking ability of Anrich Nortje, who has the ability to spark something out of the flattest surface.
All in all, Pakistan should be reasonably happy with their start to the tour, albeit with their nerves a little frayed from an intense climax to the run chase.
Babar Azam made a statement century and steadied the ship after the loss of an early wicket. He kept out the Proteas quicks when the ball was new before accelerating through his innings and getting his side close.
The nervy finish shows that Pakistan still have a way to go to be considered among the elite of the ODI game.
Pakistan’s opening bowlers Shaheen Afridi and Mohammad Hasnain won’t mind taking some tap if they keep getting early wickets; however, they must expect to be attacked from the outset at the Wanderers.
Verdict: South Africa
A pink day at the Bullring is the Proteas motivation.
Written by James Richardson.