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Babar Azam

Do-or-die for South Africa as Pakistan eye series win

SA v PAK, 2nd ODI, preview

Having narrowly lost the first ODI in Centurion, South Africa will be looking to bounce back against the high-flying Pakistan side in the second match on Sunday, 4 April.

Overview

South Africa vs Pakistan, 2nd ODI
Supersport Park, Centurion
Sunday, 4 April; 10am local time; 2pm GMT

Pakistan came off better after a thriller of a first ODI, which went down to the last ball of the match. Rassie van der Dussen’s knock of 123 went in vain as the 171-run second-wicket partnership between Babar Azam and Imam-ul-Haq helped Pakistan go 1-0 up in the series.

That meant South Africa now face a do-or-die encounter when the teams clash again. Given the fact that South Africa will also be without five of their star players – Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, David Miller, and Quinton de Kock all have been granted permission to link up their respective franchise ahead of IPL 2021 – they have their task cut out.

Pakistan will be confident. Their captain Babar Azam looked in splendid touch during his match-winning 103 in the first ODI, a milestone that made him the fastest to 13 ODI centuries. Their bowlers, who got off to a terrific start in the first ODI, will look to build on that start.

Remembering the last time

After being asked to bat, South Africa’s top order collapsed, and the hosts were reduced to 55/4. Rassie van der Dussen and David Miller’s partnership helped revive the innings, with Van der Dussen going on to score an unbeaten 123* to boost South Africa’s total to 273.

Pakistan responded well, despite the early loss of Fakhar Zaman, with Imam-ul-Haq and Babar Azam anchoring the chase. Azam went on to reach his 13th ODI century, and Imam's 70 was valuable. A slide thereafter meant South Africa were back in the game, but Mohammad Rizwan and Shadab Khan’s partnership of 53 helped them cross the line.

What they said

Babar Azam (Pakistan captain): "To be honest, when the wickets fell I was nervous, and the pressure was on with that Nortje spell. He bowled extremely well. Hopefully, we will learn from our mistakes. We need to take the confidence from this win into the next game and hopefully close the series.”

Temba Bavuma (South Africa captain): “Not the result we were looking for, but a good game of cricket. We were tested in all departments and tested to our limits. A good start to the series, but we have areas to improve in."

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