Venue: SuperSport Park Stadium, Pretoria
Date: 02 April 2021
South Africa – 0.
Pakistan – 1.50
Pakistan arrived in South Africa earlier this week to prepare for this limited overs tour that includes three ODIs and four T20s and will be shared by SuperSport Park in Centurion and the Wanderers in Johannesburg.
South Africa goes into this tour with Warriors all-rounder Wihan Lubbe and Titans fast bowler Lizaad Williams in line to earn their debuts.
Lubbe is in the T20 squad, Williams has been included in both the ODI and T20 squads and another notable inclusion to the squad is Lions bowling all-rounder Sisanda Magala who got the nod for both squads.
Another player in line to make his debut is Knights bowler Migael Pretorius who has been included into the T20 squad while Cape Cobras’ Kyle Verreynne returns to the ODI squad and has been called up to the T20 team for the first time.
There are also recalls for batsman Test opener Aiden Markram and all-rounder Wiaan Mulder to the ODI squad with the pair having last featured for the ODI side in 2019.
With this series, the Proteas takes a new path under the captaincy of middle order batsman Temba Bavuma and with focus on the ICC World Cup to be held in India in 2023. Cricket South Africa (CSA) selected am ODI squad of 22 players for this tour that includes the likes of Quinton de Kock, Beuran Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Kagiso Rabada, Rassie van der Dussen and Andile Phehlukwayo.
They will be guiding some of the inexperienced players like Wiaan Mulder, Junior Dala, Lutho Sipamla, Wiaan Mulder, Sisanda Magala, Kyle Verreynne, Daryn Dupavillon and Lizaad Williams.
De Kock, Rabada, Ngidi, Miller and Anrich Nortje will miss the third ODI and all four T20s because of their Indian Premier League (IPL) commitments.
Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq noted in his press conference this week that conditions at SuperSport Park and the Wanderers will suit them because they have always enjoyed pace and bounce that is often on offer at those venues.
Ul-Haq added that their mission in South Africa is not only to try to win both the ODI and T20 series but also to kick start their ODI Super League and also to push deep with their preparations for the T20 World Cup.
To get the much needed runs, Pakistan is going to rely heavily on senior top order batsmen like Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman and Mohammad Rizwan who have all played with a certain level of success in Centurion and Johannesburg.
This match is going to be closely contested because of the quality that both sides possess in their squads in white ball cricket. South Africa have explosive limited overs players like Quinton de Kock, Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dusses, Reeza Hendricks, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Lutho Sipamla and Kagiso Rabada.
It remains to be seen Pakistan batsmen and fast bowlers will be able to improve their record at SuperSport Park and the Wanderers as their record at these two grounds is not that good.
Pakistan have lost eight out of 12 white-ball games at these grounds there since the start of 2005.
It remains to be seen if the players will be able to take advantage and perform on the surfaces that coach Misbah-ul-Haq feels are going to be of assistance to batsmen during the series. Pakistan have played only five ODIs since the 2019 World Cup and this series offers a glimpse for the future in this format.