With the ODI series between South Africa and Pakistan level at 1-1, SIMON LEWIS puts his crystal ball-gazing to the test to predict three likely outcomes for the remainder of the series.
So much of cricket is about form and confidence, which makes me think that the Proteas are going to clean up in the remaining three ODIs. I like the look of the Pakistan side, as they have some really talented players with bat and ball, but things just haven’t fallen into place for them on this tour.
They’re going through some tough times with their ‘home’ matches being played in the UAE, which means they spend most of their year on the road, and effectively never get to play in front of their home crowd or their family and friends. When you add to the equation playing against a top side like the Proteas, then it makes the potential to lose even greater, and that’s why – as the tour heads towards its last few days – I suspect the Proteas will stride home confidently to take the last three ODIs at a canter for a 4-1 series win.
Perhaps if the Proteas experiment a lot with their lineup for match five (presuming the series is securely locked-up by then at 3-1) Pakistan might pick up a win, but otherwise I see the next three matches as being all about the Proteas.
Rabada gets on a roll
Kagiso Rabada is such a dangerous player and it’s phenomenal (and a real privilege) to watch his development into one of the future all-time greats of world cricket. For the past few months he has been bubbling under the surface, performing better than most players, but not quite dominating. Almost as if he’s monitoring his peaks and ‘troughs’ to keep him primed for the World Cup in England.
It’s too early to peak now for the World Cup, but I feel his energy and competitiveness is building to spike in the next few matches, almost to release the pressure that’s building up within him. So watch out for a couple of match-winning performances from KG.
David Miller has thrown his lot in with the white ball ahead of World Cup year, and so far it has paid off for him handsomely – when he has been given the chance. He is a highly driven and talented player who knows how to achieve when the chips are down, so I foresee two big innings from the power-packing left-hander.
Pakistan’s left-handed opening batsman is still in his first year of international cricket, but he has shown an intriguing potency at the top of the Pakistan order. After just 18 ODIs he already has four tons under his belt, which is a decent conversion rate for any top-order batsman, and he has an appetite for runs that suggests he has a big future ahead of him.
In the short term, I see him adding another century to his list, as well as a half-century in the last three matches on wickets that should suit him just fine. The tracks will also be pleasing to the Proteas (KG in particular!), which makes the next three ODIs an especially intriguing prospect for cricket lovers to watch.
Friday 25 January
3rd ODI (day/night) – Centurion
Sunday 27 January
4th ODI (day) – Johannesburg
Wednesday 30 January
5th ODI (day/night) – Cape Town
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