New-look South Africa aim for a strong start against Pakistan

Host South Africa and Pakistan will lock horns in the opening game of the one-day series at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Friday.

Cricket South Africa have decided to move ahead and build a core group of players for the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup. Temba Bavuma has been named captain of the one-day side. The home side have selected a lot of new players for this three-match ODI series.

Pakistan have already arrived in the country and will go through mandatory quarantine protocols before preparing for the one-day series. After a successful home series against South Africa, Pakistan will be looking to maintain their decent form in this tour.

When and where to watch?

The match gets underway at 9 am on Friday 2nd April and live coverage is on Sky Sports.

Team News

South Africa

For this opening fixture, the home side will be keen to field their most potent combination against Pakistan. It will be Temba Bavuma's first assignment as captain of the side.

In the batting department, the side will be depending on the opening pair of Janneman Malan and Quinton de Kock to get the side off to a good start. Temba Bavuma, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller and Heinrich Klaasen will make up the middle-order for South Africa.

Since making his ODI debut in 2019, Rassie van der Dussen has been a consistent performer for the side. In 21 matches played for South Africa, van der Dussen has accumulated 707 runs at an excellent average of 70.7 with seven half-centuries to his name. He will be looking to continue his excellent form with the bat against Pakistan.

Wiann Mulder and Andile Phehlukwayo will fight it out for a place in the final XI. Given his excellent performances in white-ball cricket, Tabraiz Shamsi will be the lone spinner for this series opener.

In the bowling department, the side will be relying on the pace trio of Anrich Nortje, Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi to make crucial breakthroughs.

Pakistan

Babar Azam-led unit returns to action in limited-overs cricket format after six months. Last year, Pakistan completed a 3-0 whitewash over Zimbabwe in an ODI series played in November.

In the batting department, the onus will be on the likes of Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq and Babar Azam to deliver the bulk of the runs.
Since May 2019, Babar Azam has been a prolific run-scorer for the side in limited-overs cricket. In 18 matches played, Babar has accumulated 1118 runs at an average of 69.87 with four centuries and six half-centuries to his name.

Haider Ali, Asif Ali and wicket-keeper Mohammad Rizwan will make up the middle-order for Pakistan for this opening encounter.
Shadab Khan and Faheem Ashraf will provide utility with bat and ball in this fixture. In the bowling department, the onus will be on Mohammad Hasnain, Hasan Ali and Shaheen Shah Afridi to make crucial breakthroughs.

Players To Watch Out For

Spearhead Kagiso Rabada has struggled for form in the limited-overs cricket. He will be looking to rediscover his mojo with the Kookaburra ball and make crucial breakthroughs in this contest. The team management will hope that he can deliver the goods in this opening fixture.

Betting Prediction

Given their excellent head-to-head and playing in their backyard, South Africa will be outright favourites to win this opening contest.

With the Centurion pitch undoubtedly suiting the quick bowlers, expect South Africa to draw first blood in this series. Experienced players like Quinton de Kock, Temba Bavuma and Rassie van der Dussen will lead South Africa's charge in the batting department.

On the other hand, Pakistan will need to make adjustments to push South Africa close in this series.

South Africa to win5/9 (1.56)SBK

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