AB de Villiers stated that the Proteas were going to play an attacking style of cricket, knowing how important winning the 1st ODI against Pakistan will be. This got me thinking, who do I think will come out on top at the end of the series, so here is how I think things will unfold in the UAE.
There’s no doubt SA will go into the series with momentum and confidence after their comprehensive 2nd test win over Pakistan, the team will change a lot from that side though, so how much it will actually help them remains to be seen, but I don’t feel the test series results will play a big part when it comes to determining the success in the one day format for these two sides.
A setback for the Proteas will be the loss of Steyn who is being rested for the first couple of ODI’s, and Amla who they are still waiting to get back from the birth of his child (which still hasn’t come) this will see them most likely bring in Ingram, or Miller for Amla, and Kleinveldt for Steyn, but there will almost certainly be a few more unforced changes with the change of format.
Ultimately in a place like the UAE, the pitch is something that plays a major part, and with extremely flat pitches expected, it should make chasing a very comfortable task (similar to what we are seeing with India vs Australia) so the captain that wins the toss the most times will definitely have an advantage.
Our struggles with bowling at the death does worry me on the flat wickets of UAE, and even if we were to set a score of around 300 I think we might find it tough to defend.
So with all this in mind, if I were to put down a bet, I would place it on whichever team fields first for each ODI, and while I wouldn’t bet on a series winner, if I had to choose, I guess I would go with the Proteas, only because of the unpredictability of Pakistan, where they (even on a flat pitch) could implode and be bowled out for a low total at any time.
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