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Bloemfontein is going to host a super Sunday game as Pakistan and South Africa clash in the first ODI of the series. Bloemfontein has always assisted quick bowlers and batsmen later on in the games, and thus the toss will play a crucial role in deciding the winner here. The match would begin at 10:00 am GMT on 10th of this month. As it is first game of the series, and South Africa are looking to rest some of their premier players, Pakistan are looking like a good bet early on in this analysis.
Kirsten has already made it clear that their focus is now on the Champions Trophy preparations. South Africa is a well-balanced side with exceptional batting talent in Amla and de Villiers. In this game, however, they are likely to rest Steyn, and Morkel is expected to miss this game due to injury, leaving their bowling corps relatively thin. Also, a loss in the T20 game might well be still stuck in their mind. It is expected to be a real contest, more between South Africa’s batting and Pakistan bowling.
Pakistan has always been an unpredictable side and that’s an element of surprise they possess. While test series panned out exactly opposite to what they were looking for, they have a new chance to set things up from the scratch. They are a much better side in limited overs format, especially considering their recent form. They’ve got arguably the best bowling attack, but batting is a serious cause of concern for them. With Hafeez and Younis out of form, they have no one except Misbah to hold the innings. Although Nasir Jamshed has shown a lot of promise, he needs to do well in unfamiliar conditions to give them the edge. The spin duo of Ajmal and Afridi is as lethal as any spin attack in the world. Pakistan on their day can even chase down a target of 400, but if it’s not, they might collapse under 150; that’s their strength and a cause of concern too.
It’s hard to choose between the sides as both are looking reasonably good on paper. With a little thinner bowling lineup than expected, their batting needs to perform extraordinarily well. Considering Pakistan’s bowling attack, their chances are looking rather bleak. I’d rather back the team which might be considered the underdog, but it looks better than the South African lineup. Also, with better betting returns, I’d place my money on Pakistan.
Winner: Pakistan, 2.50 @ Bovada
The bowling of Pakistan would largely be dependent on how Ajmal bowls. Ajmal’s form recently has been excellent and considering the biggest threat to South African batting is spin, Ajmal is always going to be a danger man.
Ajmal v Gul - Bowler Match: Saeed Ajmal, 1.80 @ William Hill
Hafeez and Jamshed have established themselves as regular openers for the side. Hafeez has past experience of playing on foreign soil while Nasir Jamshed is inexperienced. Hafeez performed brilliantly in recently concluded T20 game too. Hafeez definitely appears to be a better bet than Nasir.
Hafeez v Jamshed - Batsman Match: Mohammad Hafeez, 1.83 @ William Hill