Thunderstorms are expected to disrupt the Pink Day ODI as the Proteas aim to take an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-match series against Pakistan, writes KHALID MOHIDIN.
The Proteas walked out of SuperSport Park on Friday night with a 2-1 lead, thanks to a bit of luck and masterful strategic run acceleration.
Reeza Hendricks strengthened his chances of cementing a spot in the ODI XI with a crucial 83 not out, while his skipper helped his partner keep the Proteas ahead of the DLS par score with an impressive 42-ball 40.
The rain, however, spoilt the chance of seeing whether the Proteas could hold their nerve till the end to chase down Pakistan’s 317, acquired through a fantastic and unified batting performance.
Next up is the Pink Day ODI, which the Proteas have a great history of winning.
The last Pink Day came against India at the Wanderers, and thanks to a magnificent performance from Heinrich Klaasen and David Miller, the Proteas squeezed out their only victory of the six-match ODI series.
Rain played its part on that day too, and according to reports might have a more devastating impact on Sunday, with rain and thunderstorms expected the entire day.
The pitch at the Wanderers has been in the spotlight for the wrong reasons in recent times, so it is difficult to predict what kind of wicket will be prepared at the Bull Ring. History suggests that it is a high-scoring wicket, and it has been known to favour the side chasing.
Out of 46 ODIs played on the ground, 20 have been won by the team batting first and 26 by the team chasing.
When thinking about thrilling chases, one game springs to mind at the Wanderers, the 438 ODI against Australia in March 2006.
The Pink Day ODI, however, remains famous for AB de Villiers scoring the fastest 100 (31 balls) in ODI history, when he finished with 149 off 44 balls against the West Indies in January 2015.
The Proteas batted first on that occasion and posted what is now the second-highest ODI total in history – 439-2.
Like the third ODI at Centurion, a score of 300-plus will be the aim once again, meaning that a repeated strong batting performance from both sides will be key.
To stem the run rate, both bowling attacks need to focus on their control and variations, with the slow ball and spin crucial to restricting the opposition.
Players to Watch
Reeza Hendricks, Beuran Hendricks, Rassie van der Dussen and Kagiso Rabada will all be playing on their home ground, which makes them dangerous.
Hasan Ali will be key to Pakistan’s success. He was the only player to take a wicket in the match at Centurion, and his ability to keep the opposition batsmen guessing is down to the collection of variations he has in his arsenal. Fakhar Zaman will also be in the spotlight as he continues to fight for his spot, having not kicked on in the series thus far.
1) Hashim Amla
2) Quinton de Kock (wk)
3) Reeza Hendricks
4) Faf du Plessis (c)
5) David Miller
6) Rassie van der Dussen
7) Andile Phehlukwayo
8) Dale Steyn
9) Kagiso Rabada
10) Beuran Hendricks
11) Imran Tahir
2) Fakhar Zaman
3) Babar Azam
4) Mohammad Hafeez
5) Shoaib Malik
6) Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk) (c)
7) Shadab Khan
8) Imad Wasim
9) Mohammad Amir
10) Hasan Ali
11) Shaheen Afridi
Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix