3rd ODI: Pakistan vs South Africa Live Streaming, PAK vs SA Live
Pakistan would be hoping to capitalise on the momentum after levelling the ODI series in Centurion on Friday in their bid to take a 2-1 lead by winning the third game against South Africa here at the Wanderers on Sunday (today).
But the tourists could miss the services of their Centurion hero – Mohammad Irfan — who suffered a hamstring niggle during the second ODI.
If Irfan does not play, Wahab Riaz may come in.
After Kamran Akmal partnered Mohammad Hafeez with some success in Centurion, pressure will mount on the management to let him open. That would mean only a reshuffle in the batting order with Hafeez dropping to No.3. Pakistan did not miss the extra batsman on Friday and will stick to the same combination with three fast bowlers and Saeed Ajmal.
With Irfan in doubt, it will fall to Umar Gul to lead the Pakistan attack once again. Gul has only had one impressive performance on tour, his explosive 5 for 6 in the Twenty20, but he has not taken a single wicket in the ODIs.
Moreover, he has been expensive and although he succeeded in troubling Smith in the first match, he was ineffective in the second. If Pakistan hope for a repeat of their Centurion showing, Gul will have to up his game significantly.
Misbah-ul-Haq, Pakistan’s captain, sounded upbeat after playing an important role in his team’s victory.
“We believed we would be able to come back and now we erased some doubts,” Misbah said. “The bowlers supported Irfan, especially the spinners. There is more confidence in the team now, especially because some batsmen who were not scoring runs, did. We had some starts and wickets fell for 20s and 30s. We really needed to take responsibility and just go on.”
South Africa captain AB de Villiers expected his side to bounce back in more seamer-friendly conditions at the Wanderers, the venue for the third ODI on Sunday.
“We’ve had two one-sided games so far because one of the teams hasn’t turned up. We didn’t turn up today and Pakistan didn’t in Bloemfontein. If both teams pitch up at the Wanderers, hopefully it will be a very exciting game on Sunday. We will still be favourites because of home conditions on a bouncy and pacy track at the Wanderers.”
De Villiers gave due credit to Irfan, whose spell had thwarted South Africa’s plans of getting to a par score of 250. He said no team could afford to relax against an attack like Pakistan’s.
“Irfan bowled really well and got wickets at important times. He really has the ability to get breakthroughs for his team. That’s what makes a good bowler a great bowler. At the right moments, he got wickets,” de Villiers said. “Pakistan have a very good bowling line-up and we’ve known that. It’s not new to face them but we have to apply ourselves better.”
De Villiers, too, conceded that the first ten overs had all but decided the match. “The important thing for the next game is to start better, to adapt and to assess better. The four down in ten overs is unacceptable in ODI cricket,” he said. “Most teams would lose the match from there. We have to start better.”
He said the Pakistan batsmen applied themselves better. “When we were fielding, the ball got a little bit wet which made it tough to swing away. If we got two more wickets, we would have been into the tail. We tried everything but Misbah played too well. He left really well. I tried all our seamers at different angles, I tried Robin Peterson and nothing worked.”
Six years ago, this was the ground that produced what it still advertised as the “Greatest ODI of all time,” the 438 game between South Africa and Australia. The Wanderers one-day surface promises runs and pace and more of the same can be expected. The weather forecast is clear during the day with a shower possible in the evening.