Pakistan v South Africa, 4th ODI, Abu Dhabi November 7, 2013

Will the pendulum swing again?


Match facts

Friday, November 8, 2013
Start time 1500 local (1100GMT)

Big picture

Followers of this series could easily think they've woken up in March, or even in 2010, when these two sides last met in five-ODI series. The result went South Africa's way in the first game, Pakistan's in the second and back to South Africa in the third. History would tell us it's Pakistan's turn again in the fourth, and they need a victory in Abu Dhabi to stay alive in the series.

South Africa, however, could break the pendulum swing of the score line because their batting has improved more than Pakistan's. On the Abu Dhabi pitch, which has proved the most conducive for run-scoring, South Africa seem to have an advantage but whether they have the temperament to make it count remains to be seen.

The two bowling attacks, who tore into opposing batting line-ups in the first two matches, were somewhat nullified by an unhelpful pitch in the third game. Pakistan were blunted more severely by batsmen who were willing to apply themselves. Mohammad Irfan still caused problems and Pakistan will need him and the spinners to be at their best to level the series.

South Africa will be happier but not entirely satisfied with the changes they made to their line-up. They will still demand more from the batsmen, especially as the bowlers cannot be asked to do much more. Should they win on Friday, it will be the first time South Africa would have won an ODI series before the final game since they blanked New Zealand 3-0 in 2011-12.

Form guide

Pakistan LWLWW (last five completed games, most recent first) South Africa WLWLL

Watch out for

Pakistan need more competent performances from their two Umars, Amin and Akmal, if they keep their places. Both batsmen have been guilty of needless soft dismissals - think Akmal handing Imran Tahir a return catch off a full toss - and Amin needs to tighten up outside his off stump. They need to make their adjustments quickly or the series could fall out of Pakistan's grasp.

South Africa's improvement with the bat in the third match included two of their batsmen getting half-centuries, and with the fourth fixture being played on the same placid surface in Abu Dhabi, they will be looking for someone to score a hundred. JP Duminy appears the likeliest candidate. As South Africa's top scorer from the previous match and the most comfortable batsman against the spinners, he may be the man to score the first century of the series.

Team news

Pakistan moved Mohammad Hafeez back to the top of the order for the third match and will probably keep him there with Ahmed Shehzad. With the middle order still a concern, it may be time to consider handing Sohaib Maqsood a debut and bringing in Sarfraz Ahmed as wicketkeeper. Wahab Riaz has been unsuccessful with the ball, and Junaid Khan could be a handy replacement.

Pakistan: 1 Mohammad Hafeez, 2 Ahmed Shehzad, 3 Umar Amin/Sohaib Maqsood 4 Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), 5 Asad Shafiq, 6 Umar Akmal/Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), 7 Shahid Afridi, 8 Sohail Tanvir, 9 Wahab Riaz/Junaid Khan, 10 Saeed Ajmal, 11 Mohammad Irfan.

With Graeme Smith out of the series, Quinton de Kock will get another opportunity to open and will probably keep wicket as well, although AB de Villiers appears more suited to the task. Faf du Plessis seemed to prefer batting at No.3, so he should stay there with JP Duminy at No.4. Dale Steyn was clutching his hamstring and groin at various points in the third match and if there is a lingering niggle, he could make way for either Wayne Parnell or Vernon Philander, who has not played a match so far.

South Africa:1 Hashim Amla, 2 Quinton de Kock (wk), 3 Faf du Plessis, 4 JP Duminy 5 AB de Villiers (capt), 6 David Miller, 7 Ryan McLaren, 8 Dale Steyn/Wayne Parnell/Vernon Philander, 9 Morne Morkel, 10 Lonwabo Tsotsobe, 11 Imran Tahir

Stats and trivia

  • AB de Villiers is 148 runs behind Jacques Kallis as South Africa's leading run-scorer in ODIs against Pakistan.

  • Shahid Afridi has played in more ODIs than anyone else in Abu Dhabi, with 19 appearances to date.


"It's the same old story. I think we need to think about our batting if we want to save the series. Our batsmen get starts but are not able to convert them into big scores, and we all have to think that 20s and 30s are not going to win matches for us."
Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq

"Dale is a wonderful bowler. He's close to perfect. He brings in intensity to the team and he ups the pace of the game. He brings this intensity which is irreplaceable."
South Africa captain AB de Villiers

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Habeeb on November 8, 2013, 11:47 GMT

    I think too much politics is destroying the PAK cricket. Hafeez and S Malik are gud only v/s IND/SL/BD that too in ASIA. Play him as bowler who can bat at 6/7/8. Let Afridi open where quick 30-40s can demoralize the opponents as anyway he slogging in lower middle order. Umar Akmal is PAK best batsman to arrive since MY/YK and they are destroying him by making him play at 6 instead of 3 or 4. Likewise Razzaq career is also destroyed by PAK admins by frequent droppings. Jamshed can be given some more chances to prove his capability. Ideal PAK line up should be 1. Jamshed 2. Afridi 3. Shehzad 4. U Akmal 5. Misbah 6/7. Hafeez/Razaq 8. Tanveer 9. Ajmal 10 Junaid 11. Irfan. Common guys what you say...

  • Android on November 8, 2013, 10:52 GMT

    pakistani team is unperdictable so hope for the best

  • Dummy4 on November 8, 2013, 10:51 GMT

    At last , junaid khan plays......i think Misbah is the most intelligent man in this match

  • Dummy4 on November 8, 2013, 10:51 GMT

    Play with 8 established and 3 youngsters. So established and experienced players can guide youngsters. We don't have enough established batsman. We have Misbah with his own tech and he is doing good job with bat but at the same time we have other youngsters who are unable to copy Misbah. Misbah is damaging our batting line, he is not letting others play their natural game. Players must be free to play their own game.

  • Saleem on November 8, 2013, 10:31 GMT

    No rocket science, Pakistan line up comprises of "average" quality batsmen and individuals fire on rare occasions. Pakistan desperately need few "world-class" batsmen. The youngsters/new inductions do not inspire confidence - THEY DON'T HAVE IT ! As for your caption, "Will the pendulum swing again ?", batting second/chasing (even a getable target), the answer is NO CHANCE. Only scenario for Pakistan to swing the pendulum is BAT FIRST- PUT UP +200 TOTAL & BACK BOWLERS TO DEFEND IT. Good luck Pakistan ( will needs lots of it).

  • Yasir on November 8, 2013, 10:24 GMT

    Pendulum would swing for sure..Pak would win today & would lose the next game.It's so obvious.If i can predict the result of whole series.Pak is so famous for the their Drama.So sad but Pak would lose this series.. Don'y know why but i see a certain pattern when Pak plays in any Tournament.

  • Quamar on November 8, 2013, 10:23 GMT

    Make or break today. Think this match will serve as a marker for the medium term of Pakistani cricket. Can they respond and turn unquestionable talent into a winning formula. My team for today: Jamshed, Shehzad, Shafiq, Misbah, Hafeez, Akmal, Afridi, Wahab, Ajmal, Junaid,Irfan. Time for Shehzad, Shafiq and Akmal to step up. The two spin bowling all rounders should concentrate on their bowling and inshallah one will have a good day with the bat. Riaz has to become our fast bowling allrounder...

  • Arbi on November 8, 2013, 10:19 GMT

    we want Imran Nazir Ahmed Shehzad opning pair .......they shell rock the world...

  • Dummy4 on November 8, 2013, 10:01 GMT

    pakistani batsmen are defending too much. I think they should play attacking and aggresive cricket

  • Dummy4 on November 8, 2013, 9:59 GMT

    I Think That The Pakistan Team Line-Up Should Be 1-HAFEEZ 2-SHAHZAD 3-MISBAH 4-MAQSOOD 5-ASAD 6-SARFRAZ 7-AFRIDI 8-REHMAN 9-JUNAID 10-AJMAL 11-IRFAN