South Africa vs Pakistan, 1st ODI: Preview and Predicted playing XI
After routing the Pakistani Tigers in the Tests, the Proteas will look to extend their dominance in the 50-over format, when they take on Pakistan in the first ODI at the St George's Park in Port Elizabeth on Saturday, January 19.
The teams have played 72 completed One Day Internationals against each other, with the Africans leading the head-to-head scoreline 47-25. Meanwhile in case of matches played at Port Elizabeth, the scoreline salutes the Asians at 2-0, with one game ending without a result.
Both nations last faced each other in this format at St George's Park in November 2013. After being put in to bat first, Pakistan posted 262 runs on the board in their quota of 45 overs and held their nerves in the nail-biting clash to win the game by one run.
The Proteas have been a team to reckon with, especially on their home soil and after a world-class outing in Test series, they will now aim to continue that dominance in the shorter format as well.
With the Proteas expected to use this series as a preparation for the 2019 World Cup, one may see a few of the fringe players playing their part in the middle.
David Miller smashed 192 runs in previous ODI series against the Aussies to end as the highest run scorer. While Skipper Faf du Plessis followed him in second position with 182 runs and these two will once again pose a major threat to the Pakistani bowlers.
Except these two, the visitors will also bank on the likes of Hashim Amla who was their standout performer in Test series against Pakistan. He will aim to prove his worth with noteworthy performances in the ODI series as well.
The batting order needs some sorting out, and Proteas will hope that they arrive at a balanced XI before the mega event later this year.
In the absence of Dale Steyn, who has been tested for first two games, Duanne Olivier will expect to lead the attack from the front, who topped the charts with 24 wickets against Pakistan in the Test series.
The right-arm pacer will look to continue his good run and choke the opponents in ODIs as well. Pacer Kagiso Rabada picked up 17 wickets during the Test series and was their leading wicket-taker with seven wickets in previous ODI series against Aussies and will be expected to replicate it against the Greens.
Imran Tahir possesses a lot of experience under his belt, though he has not been in the best of form in recent times, he will eager to end his poor run and rout down the Pakistan batting order.
Expected Playing XI
Faf du Plessis (C), David Miller, Heinrich Klaasen (W), Dane Paterson, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Duanne Olivier, Imran Tahir, Hashim Amla, Reeza Hendricks and Rassie van der Dussen.
After a sub-par performance in the Test series, the Asians will aim for a revival in ODI series and they will take some confidence from their previous record at this ground.
Fakhar Zaman was Pakistan best batsman during their previous ODI series against New Zealand with 154 runs, and he will be expected to replicate the same. Shan Masood who has been in top form in the Test series against the same opponents will be eager to come out with a similar performance in the ODIs as well.
Babar Azam was a big positive for the home side during the Test series; the right-hander scored 221 runs, comprising of two fifties, and he is expected to pose a major threat to the African bowlers.
Shaheen Shah Afridi was the pick of the lot in the previous series against New Zealand with nine wickets in three games, including 4/38 in the second fixture, and he will be expected to do the early damage, while Mohammad Amir with 12 wickets in the Test series was their only positive in this department.
Expected Playing XI
Sarfraz Ahmed (C & W), Mohammad Amir, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Babar Azam, Shan Masood, Shoaib Malik, Hussain Talat and Hasan Ali.