JOHANNESBURG: South Africa will be looking to seal the ODI series which they lead by 2-1 while Pakistan will be looking to level the five-match contest to keep their chance alive in the series as the two sides meet again here at the Wanderers in a day match on Sunday.
Rain, unfortunately, is forecast in Johannesburg, and could once again play spoilsport come Sunday, making the toss crucial.
Though opener Imam-ul-Haq made his fifth ODI hundred and Pakistan made the first 300-plus score of the series on Friday, it wasn’t enough to stop South Africa from winning the third ODI on the DLS method, thanks to a sparkling 80* from Reeza Hendricks.
Despite the loss, though, Pakistan can take heart from their performance at Centurion. Besides Imam’s ton, half-centuries from Babar Azam and Mohammad Hafeez, and strong hands from Shoaib Malik and Imad Wasim were enough to take the visitors past 300 against a first rate South Africa pace attack comprising Dale Steyn and Kagiso Rabada who bowled economical spells.
Pakistan will surely want more of the same in Johannesburg. And the performance will certainly buoy them. The question is, can South Africa stop them again at the Wanderers?
The home side showed plenty of grit to come away with victory, despite facing a tricky total. Particularly pleasing for South Africa will be the displays put in by the middle order over the last two matches — it was Rassie van der Dussen and Andile Phehlukwayo in Durban, and Hendricks and du Plessis at Centurion.
Their bowlers — Phehlukwayo and Tabraiz Shamsi in particular — were taken to the cleaners by the Pakistan batsmen in the third ODI aftr impressing in the first two matches. South Africa will be hoping all departments can come together in tandem in Johannesburg and seal what has been a hard-fought series.
SOUTH AFRICA: Faf du Plessis (captain), Hashim Amla, Reeza Hendricks, Imran Tahir, Quinton de Kock, David Miller, Beuran Hendricks, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen, Aiden Markram, Dale Steyn
PAKISTAN: Sarfaraz Ahmed (captain), Babar Azam, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Hasan Ali, Hussain Talat, Imad Wasim, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Rizwan, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood, Shoaib Malik, Usman Khan Shinwari.