A comfortable and convincing victory over Pakistan in the first ODI will reignite public admiration for the South Africa in the limited overs arena. There’s already talk of how settled they looked, how in control of the game they were and how the ‘fringe’ players in the side stepped up to the plate following doubt in their abilities at international level. That is not to say it is not admirable but in our opinion, Pakistan simply made too many mistakes. Whether the tourists have the ability to rectify these mistakes is another question entirely, one that will surely be answered at Centurion.
Colin Ingram’s picture perfect century on Sunday has seen him make a strong claim for a permanent position at first drop, despite coming in at number four as AB de Villiers promoted himself to three. What is worrying is the fact that Ingram has a fantastic record in Bloemfontein and against Pakistan, which often conspires to mask the fact that he has been pretty inconsistent at international level. South Africa will welcome back Dale Steyn who should be fit for this game which means that Kyle Abbott could be left out of the side. In the absence of any other injuries the same side could otherwise be played with Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla batting at the top of the order and Faf du Plessis buffering up their middle. Morkel is still in doubt with a hamstring injury.
Following their T20 win, Pakistan were soaring. The first ODI loss will have brought them back down to ground. Everything just seemed to go wrong for touring side but the problems they encountered won’t be new ones. Captain Misbah indicated as much post-match. He made the wrong decision after winning the toss and put too much emphasis on his spin contingent on an unresponsive pitch. Pakistan were a seamer short on a flat wicket, which yet again points the finger of blame at the selectors after widespread controversy over the set-up. One, Pakistan need to look at their bowling department and consider playing an extra quick bowler after they went into the opener with only two of them. On a pace-friendly track they fell very short of defending against the South African batsmen. Secondly the batting needs to improve but that is something that has been said about them throughout the tour. In a format that they prefer over the Tests, the general feeling was that they would do a better job with the bat but the pressure of chasing such a big total probably put paid to their plans.
Match Timings: Mar 15, 2013 (14:30 local | 12:30 GMT | 18:00 IST)
South Africa (probable) 1 Graeme Smith, 2 Hashim Amla, 3 Colin Ingram, 4 AB de Villiers (capt & wk), 5 Faf du Plessis, 6 Farhaan Behardien, 7 Ryan McLaren, 8 Robin Peterson, 9 Rory Kleinveldt, 10 Dale Steyn/Kyle Abbott, 11 Lonwabo Tsotsobe.
Pakistan (probable) 1 and 2 Nasir Jamshed/Kamran Akmal/Mohammad Hafeez, 3 Younis Khan, 4 Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), 5 Asad Shafiq, 6 Shoaib Malik, 7 Shahid Afridi, 8 Umar Gul, 9 Saeed Ajmal, 10 Junaid Khan, 11 Mohammed Irfan.