Following an exciting test series, South Africa will now host Pakistan for a 5 match ODI series. The first match of the series will take place at Port Elizabeth. With the ICC World Cup only months away, both Pakistan and South Africa will look to get some wins under the belt.
South Africa have rested Dale Steyn and Quinton de Kock for first 2 ODIs which means that Duanne Oliver is set to get a game. Oliver bowled exceptionally well for South Africa in the test series where he took 24 wickets. South Africa’s bowling is always very reliable which means the result of this game will be heavily determined by the home team’s batting. South Africa batted poorly in their last ODI series where the likes of Markram and Hendricks struggled. Hashim Amla will be back in the side for South Africa and the experienced opener is expected to give the team some much-needed stability at the top. David Miller and Faf du Plessis both look in good form with the bat and they will need to lead to team well with the bat if South Africa are to win.
On the other side of the coin, Pakistan will know that their bowlers will determine their faith. Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi and Mohammad Amir present a very dangerous bowling trio and they led the team very well in the UAE where Pakistan played Australia. Pakistan’s batting has been reliable in recent times as Babar Azam and Mohammad Hafeez have been scoring consistently. Batting against a strong South African bowling line-up will not be easy but considering their recent form, Pakistan will be confident that they can score runs.
All in all, I am going to pick Pakistan to win this match. In limited overs cricket, South Africa have struggled with the bat recently while Pakistan look to be firing on all cylinders. With most of their players in good form, I see Pakistan winning the 1st ODI.