Pakistan were elegant with Babar Azam and Imam-ul-Haq at the crease but they once again proved to be the most unexpected side, finishing the chase on the very last ball despite a solid start in the first ODI against South Africa.
The first ODI was not less than a roller coaster as confident Pakistan lost its way from nowhere to give South Africa an edge in the twilight phase of the inning. Babar and Imam set the tone in a 274-runs chase by scoring 177 runs together, breaking their own record of the highest second-wicket partnership.
But, things turned from there on and South Africa’s never-give-up approach could be a game-changer for them, luckily Faheem Ashraf scored a boundary off the last ball to take the visitors 1-0 up in the ODI series.
However, it was a concern for the coaching staff watching from the dressing room that the team taking the charge of the things in first 15 overs should have completed it without giving electric shocks to the fans. But, the fans liked it only because the team won at last.
Ton-up Babar Azam
Babar scored his 13th ODI century, proved his worth yet again, and got closer to the number ODI rankings for batsmen. His 13th ODI century came in a winning cause and it must have given too much confidence to the young skipper.
With a huge following and number of fans, Babar remained center of attraction everywhere in the tournament. Babar’s inning included 17 fours and he batted at a strike rate of 99.94.
But, the highlight of his inning was that he broke the record of South Africa’s Hashim Amla for scoring 13th century in fewer innings. Hashim took 83 ODI innings to achieve this feat whereas Babar got to it in just 76.
Rethink South Africa
A do-or-die situation for South Africa tomorrow as the win can only save them from a series defeat and take the cricket fraternity to the series decider – third ODI. It will make the series viewership worthy but South Africa really needs to rethink their combination.
They lost their minds and confidence initially with the bat losing four wickets for just 55. Rassie van der Dussen took the credit by smashing the century otherwise South Africa couldn’t have crosse 150-runs mark.
Miller, on the other hand, supported his teammate quite well with a 50-runs knock, and another inning is due on him if he plays and takes South Africa into the third ODI by helping them win the second one before leaving for IPL.
Pakistan can get better
Pakistan’s team management must be concerned about how things finished. Pakistan was completely in the game at one stage but they axed their own leg by losing wickets. The green shirts should look into maintaining the consistency and match-winning capabilities of the players.
Stay long, build an inning and try to finish it for the team otherwise, South Africa will give them a lesson in the second ODI.
The second ODI of the series will be played on April 4 at Wanderers, Johannesburg from 1 pm (PST).
(This story has been published from ARY Sports rss feed, without modifications to the text)