Pakistan eye history in fifth ODI against South Africa

The Men in Green can become the first Asian side to win back-to-back series win on the land of Proteas

Pakistan eye history in fifth ODI against South Africa PHOTO: AFP

Pakistan and South Africa are looking forward for another feisty contest when they will face off in the fifth One-Day International (ODI) in Cape Town on Wednesday.

The Men in Green became the first Asian side to win a series in South Africa in 2013, and if they manage to register a positive result on Wednesday, they will become the first Asian team to win second consecutive series on the land of Proteas.

The Green Caps made a grand comeback in the limited overs format after getting white-washed in the three-match Test series.

Sarfraz Ahmed-led unit started the series on a high and registered a comprehensive five-wicket win in the opener.

In second ODI, South Africa bounced back strongly after Pakistan suffered a batting collapse. However, pacer Hasan Ali and captain Sarfraz played great knocks of 59 and 41 respectively to help the visitors in posting 203 runs on the board after they were reduced to 112-8 at one stage. The home side chased the target in 42 overs with five wickets in hand.

The match was overshadowed by Sarfraz’s racial remarks to South Africa all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo which led him to face four-match suspension.

Pakistan felt slightly hard done by as they ended up on the wrong side of the result in a rain-affected third ODI — despite posting a respectable total of 317.

The match was stopped twice due to heavy rain and when the second interruption brought the match to an abrupt end, South Africa were 187 for two after 33 overs — 13 runs ahead on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern (DLS) method.

However, Pakistan showed great resilience and made a grand comeback in the fourth ODI, where they thrashed the home side by eight-wicket margin. The victory was even sweeter considering the fact they were without regular captain Sarfraz.

Under the leadership of veteran all-rounder Shoaib Malik, Pakistan against all odds, not only defeated Faf du Plassis-led unit, but also tied the series 2-2 in a comprehensive manner.

Therefore, the series decider will have all the drama, action and excitement as two very good one-day teams will go head-to-head for supremacy.

Pakistan have finally struck a right combination, and despite playing without their regular captain, the team have shown great fight.

On the other hand, South Africa wanted to utilise this series to find the right balance ahead of the World Cup. Their three debutants made an impact, proving they are ever-ready for national call-ups.

It has been a good series for Pakistan batsmen thus far, especially for under-pressure opener Imamul Haq, who is leading the chart with 263 runs in four games. He is followed by South Africa opener Hashim Amla, who has scored 200 runs in four outings with the help of a century and a fifty.

In terms of bowling, Phehlukwayo is having a good run with six wickets to his name followed by Pakistan fast-bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi and leg-spinner Shadab Khan, who have claimed five wickets each.