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|Quinton de Kock||20||18||3||1||111.11|
|Rassie van der Dussen||123||134||10||2||91.79|
South Africa have been in a rebuilding phase for quite some time now and it's high time that they make a move now. They recently visited Pakistan but failed to make a mark in any of the formats they played. They'll have another opportunity to get some favorable results as Pakistan are now visiting South Africa to play seven limited-overs matches across the two formats.
The series between South Africa and Pakistan is set to begin with an ODI series, which will then be followed by a T20I series. The first of the three ODI matches is to be played at SuperSport Park, Centurion, on April 2nd, 2021. Pakistan have done exceedingly well in recent times and the Proteas are playing at home. This balances the difference between the two sides, at least to some extent, and a cracking contest is certainly on the cards.
It was almost a year ago when South Africa played at home and then they registered a convincing victory. They swept Aussies 3-0, which suggested that the new Proteas' team has finally found its feet, but that didn't develop into anything significant. With a new skipper in Temba Bavuma leading them, South Africa are once again in a similar position.
A long-time regular in red-ball Cricket, Temba Bavuma will now be leading the team for the next three World Cups. Historically, the Proteas have been a decent ODI outfit and Bavuma will want to take that side to a similar position. Apart from Bavuma, the focus will be on South Africa's youngsters, many of whom will be playing their first match.
In the last few outings, South Africa have been guilty of crumbling under pressure, and with youngsters coming in, this is something that Bavuma and the management will need to be wary of. Currently, they are ranked fifth in the ODI format and will be looking at this series as a stepping stone to overcome the chaos that is prevalent in South African Cricket, both on and off the field.
While the Proteas look good as a unit for the first couple of matches, they will be stripped of their strength after the second match as most of their experienced players will head to India to play IPL. Therefore, it will be imperative for them to deal as much damage in the first two matches.
On paper, South Africa have a decent side with batting depending upon the likes of Aiden Markram, Quinton de Kock, and Temba Bavuma. Arguably, it is the bowling that looks to be their stronger suit with the presence of Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi, and Kagiso Rabada. They have good experience available, at least for the first couple of matches, and their ability to handle the spin will likely dictate the terms. If Proteas batsmen manage to do well against the Pakistani spinners, the hosts will be well in business.
Quinton de Kock, Aiden Markram, Temba Bavuma, RVD Dussen, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi, Tabraiz Shamsi.
Although Pakistan did reasonably well in the World Cup 2019, we saw PCB make a few radical changes to the management and leadership right after the tournament ended. They appointed Misbah ul Haq as the team's coach, but Pakistan haven't really had a chance to play a lot of cricket ever since he was appointed as the team's coach.
In the last two years, Pakistan have played just five ODIs and they did reasonably well in those. This upcoming series may only be three matches long but will do a world of good to Pakistan's plans of building a side for the 2023 World Cup. Pakistan, in the past, have been known to play a rather safe brand of Cricket in the ODIs and we might see them change this strategy going forward.
Taking a cue from India and England, Pakistan might want to consider the approach of playing slam, bang, wallop brand of cricket, considering the depth they have in their batting. With the likes of Fakhar Zaman, Imam ul Haq, Mohammad Rizwan, and Babar Azam available at the top, Pakistan do have availability of good experience, at least with the bat. With the likes of Faheem Ashraf, Shadab Khan, and Asif Ali available in the lower middle-order, Pakistan have the explosiveness that so many teams desire to have.
Pakistan have always been known for their measured pace bowling attack, but that hasn't been the case for them in the last few years. They have conceded runs at an economy rate of nearly 7.50 in the last five years and that is something they'd be looking to improve at going forward. Also, Pakistan do not have anyone who can control the things with the ball in the middle over.
Overall, Pakistan is a side that is likely to do well in the coming time, but the lack of experience and match practice in recent times might well dictate terms in the series. While their bowlers are young, they have all played a good amount of competitive cricket in their relatively short careers. Having said that, many of their bowlers still do not have enough experience of playing in South Africa and that could be a factor. If the bowlers manage to do well for them, they certainly have the capability to put Proteas in a spot of bother.
Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, Danish Aziz, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Hasnain, Haris Rauf.
Both sides are going through a rough patch and are in a rebuilding phase at the moment. South Africa are playing at home and that will certainly add to their advantage. Also, Pakistan have not played the fifty-over format much in recent times and the players might find it tough to adjust to the conditions and the format together. South Africa will be coming in with their full-strength side, at least in the first couple of matches, and that weighs them as the stronger unit, at least on paper. For that reason, we are placing our money on a South Africa win in this series starter.
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