Pakistan is supported by enough statistical data and should give South Africa a heavier scrap in the five-game one-day international series than was the case in the test part of their tour.
Several members of the two teams that participated in the 3: 0 draw made by the Proteas will change for the 50-member bouts. This is just one reason to warn against the host country, which is just hanging around the ODI trophy, arguing that they had the Pakistanis in a vice-like grip for so much testing.
As the 2019 World Cup finals in England are barely four months away, it would be beneficial for both sides to see some of the nails on the road in the coming weeks, starting with Saturday’s first meeting at St George’s Park (13:00). Because such games are often the best measure of which players – especially among the less well-tried – produce under the highest pressure.
Like most other countries, SA and Pakistan are busy optimizing their teams and preparing for liberal experimentation and individual “trials” for the big event.
The recent history suggests that the teams will be closer to each other in terms of competitiveness over the next three weeks than was the case in the tests.
For example, it would be shortsighted for Proteas thought leaders to engage in the slightly controversial policy of seeking vivid landscapes all the way to “up and down” marks during the five-day activity.
This would not be a way to boost the Batsmen’s confidence in CWC, where surfaces should favor relatively large sums, unless the early summer weather in the UK is gloomy, and the ball seems to be too strong or sticky, poignant orbits to form.
It must be assumed that it is preferable for both sides to meet some really genuine, trustworthy and healthy belt people during the ODIs.
Only in terms of the current ICC rankings, there is every reason to anticipate the Ding-Dong fortune, even if many local experts feel that they are supporting Faf du Plessis and his company to “double” those enemies do the proteas fourth place and Pakistan only one place behind the fifth.
South Africa have won three series in a row since their 5-1 home victory over India last season, with their away win against Sri Lanka, home against Zimbabwe and then against Australia.
It suggests that they are finding a new level of polish and consistency, whereas Pakistan has been unpredictable in ODIs lately (psst, have I heard of it?).
They shared a one-to-one (out-of-result) game with three games with the rapidly reawakened New Zealand in the UAE before Christmas, but had a serious roller coaster ride ahead: the failure of the 2018 Asian Cup final ( India lost to Bangladesh), but a merciless 5-0 away win over Zimbabwe … and 5-0 lead to less desirable opportunities against Sri Lanka in the United Arab Emirates.
These are exactly the kinds of results that make you wonder almost forever who the “real” Pakistan is, even though they rarely lack the gifted X-factor individuals.
Nevertheless, a sobering thought for proteas enthusiasts is that Pakistan currently has quite impressive bragging rights, in strictly bilateral terms, between the two ODIs.
For example, they own the most recent large-scale ICC International Tournament Title, the 2017 Champions Trophy in England and Wales – and they have toppled the proteas in Edgbaston in a Duckworth / Lewis-influenced affair by 19 runs.
They outstripped South Africa in Auckland in a pool match at the last World Cup (2015) and will start slug-out on Saturday in Port Elizabeth, bolstered by the knowledge that they have won the last 50-over bilateral series in our soil : 2-1 in 2013/14.