After their morale-boosting five-wicket win in the first One-day International (ODI), Pakistan will look to make South Africa’s deficit steeper when the two sides meet in the second game of the five-match series on Tuesday.
For Pakistan, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Hafeez and Babar Azam came good with the bat, and captain Sarfraz Ahmed will hope for more of the same in Durban.
Babar, ranked 5th in the ICC ODI Batting Rankings, has been in impressive form on this tour. He scored two half-centuries in the Test series before notching a 69-ball 49 on Saturday.
As for the bowlers, the visitors would have been happy to keep South Africa to a low
A lot will depend on Hasan Ali and Shadab Khan — Pakistan’s only wicket-takers in Port Elizabeth. South Africa lost just two wickets in the series opener, but still couldn’t breach the 300-run mark, ending the innings at 266-2. It was a target that Hafeez said his side were always confident of chasing, given it was “below par”.
The hosts’ top-order batsmen will want to up their scoring-rate, not just to give their bowlers something to defend, but also to gain a psychological advantage against Pakistan.
To do that, they will be reliant on the experienced duo of Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis, especially in the absence of the rested Quinton de Kock and the injured JP Duminy. The in-form Rassie van der Dussen will also hope to play a big role once again.
South Africa will also be buoyed by the performance of their bowlers, who pushed Pakistan to the final over in a relatively small chase. Duanne Olivier, the standout star from the Tests, returned two wickets in the first ODI, albeit for 73 runs. If he can hit the straps again, along with the likes of Kagiso Rabada and Imran Tahir, Pakistan will be troubled.
The forecast suggests optimal playing conditions on match-day. Teams batting first have had more success at Kingsmead over the years. The surface is also expected to have something in it for the slow bowlers.