Pakistan v South Africa, 5th ODI, Sharjah November 10, 2013

Pakistan's chance to solve batting problems


Match facts

Monday, November 11, 2013
Start time 1500 local (1100GMT)

Big Picture

With the result of the series already determined, the fifth ODI could fade into obscurity. However, it serves as the precursor to the return series in South Africa, which will begin later this month. If South Africa manage to win, they will take bragging rights into the three-match affair at home, but if Pakistan can pull one back, it could give them some much-needed buoyancy.

The conditions, of course, will be completely different to Cape Town, Port Elizabeth or Centurion, but it could still act as some sort of prologue. The Sharjah strip was the most spinner friendly and will be more testing for the batsmen than Abu Dhabi's pitch was. It should favour Pakistan, but with the slew of problems facing them, they will go into the fixture needing motivation.

On the eve of the game, news broke that Pakistan coach Dav Whatmore's contract will not be renewed. While that may not be unexpected, it has left him with something to prove in the time he has left in charge. If he can fix Pakistan's weak batting line-up, it will be the best parting gift he can give them.

South Africa have made incremental improvements, which is promising for their coach Russell Domingo. He still has work to do with the top order and will want to use this game to start fine tuning as South Africa look to find a settled combination as they build towards the World Cup.

Form guide

(last five completed games, most recent first)

Pakistan LLWLW
South Africa WWLWL

In the spotlight

AB de Villiers said South Africa always felt they were in with a chance against Pakistan's middle-order batsmen, who will feel obliged to end the series on a positive note. Umar Amin, Umar Akmal, Asad Shafiq and Shahid Afridi have scored a combined total of 168 runs in 12 innings against South Africa, and not a single half-century between them.

He could end up being the overall leading wicket-taker in the series, so Imran Tahir will want to put in a strong final effort to cap a period during which he has impressed beyond expectation. He has proved wily with variations, and has done a good job of cleaning up the tail, but he has threatened to go for more runs in every game. He's still brimming with confidence, but will need to add more control to his bowling to end on a high.

Team news

Changes to the XI haven't helped Pakistan much and they will hope their current crop make quick improvements. They could change the wicketkeeper or bring in Umar Amin in place of the misfiring Asad Shafiq. The bowling unit is likely to stay the same, unless they choose to give Abdur Rehman a game.

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

With the series wrapped up, South Africa may experiment, although they will limit it to the bowling department. Vernon Philander, who was included after much public pressure, is yet to get a game and may come in along with either Wayne Parnell or even Robin Peterson, who has also carried drinks since being dropped after the Abu Dhabi Test. Morne Morkel and Lonwabo Tsotsobe may get a rest.

South Africa: (likely)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, 9 and 10 Wayne Parnell/Vernon Philander/Morne Morkel/Dale Steyn/Lonwabo Tsotsobe/Dale Steyn, 11 Imran Tahir

Stats and trivia

  • Pakistan have been bowled out in all four matches in this series, while South Africa have been dismissed just twice. South Africa also have the only centurion of the series - Quinton de Kock.

  • The top three wicket-takers in this series so far have been spinners, with Imran Tahir leading the charts. He has nine scalps, while Saeed Ajmal and Shahid Afridi have eight each.


"At the moment we have tried different players in our order but the problem is that the guys who are good batsmen can't bowl as a fully-fledged bowling option, and if we pick the bowlers who are really good in bowling then we lack batting. We are really missing a quality allrounder who can deliver in bowling and batting in pressure situations.
Misbah-ul-Haq, the Pakistan captain

"I really felt like we were 11 guys out there, which sometimes you don't feel, especially when a team is not doing well. It's very difficult when the guys drift off to the boundary to keep the attention and the focus of the guys directed to the middle. I felt that right throughout the 50 overs tonight and that made a big difference."
South Africa captain, AB de Villiers

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Shahab on November 11, 2013, 12:16 GMT

    Mr. Whatmore you deserved it. Best wishes for your future. Honestly, dont see improvement in team in near future as well. Basically, the team lacks unity and its obvious for the TV viewers. Sad future ahead for Team Pak.

  • Shahab on November 11, 2013, 11:42 GMT

    Umar Amin back - Gosh, never mind, he should atleast be used in bowling. Misbah should try a few overs from Maqsood as well. If you dont test them, then how would you come to know. I still feel Wahab is a better option than Junaid in ODI's, because he has an advantage with his batting. Pak will definately lose this as well.

  • jhg on November 11, 2013, 10:37 GMT

    wow, Umar Amin plays again, he was dropped, how has he changed in 5 days ? This happens only in Pakistan that failed people get chance after chance. Sick of it

  • Moin on November 11, 2013, 10:31 GMT

    Misbah please win the toss today and plz plz plzzz choose to bowl and let your batting department to have some more experience of chasing, else AB will surely choose to bowl. A loss here won't make any such difference. Moreover, drop some key bowlers like Ajmal and Irfan for today. I am a big fan of you and would like to see you taking object oriented decisions like MSD....

  • Dummy4 on November 11, 2013, 10:29 GMT

    i would like to see Umar Akmal as open the innings with Ahmed Shehzad.Asad Shafiq no.3 , Misbah no.4 , Hafeez no.5 Sohaib Maqsood is like hard hitter so he should play at no.6 , BoOm BoOm at 7 , Abdur Rehman at no.8 in place of Sohail Tanvir & in the end at no.9,10,11 should be Saeed, Irfan & junaid respectively.

  • Dummy4 on November 11, 2013, 10:26 GMT

    Pak should look to bat first today after winning the toss and go for the kill. fight for the pride !!

  • faisal on November 11, 2013, 10:23 GMT

    first of all if a batsmen cannot understand his reponsibilty after 366 one day matches.He should nt allowed to waste talented guys of team.For allah sake stop playing with shahid afridi ...give chances to new guys like shoiab maqsood....if pakistan wants to win matches

  • Dummy4 on November 11, 2013, 9:49 GMT

    some one please inform misbah that hafeez, afridi, riaz, tanveer are all bowling all rounders! play one of them (may be hafeez bcz he is better batsman and we have a spinning track) and play 4 genuine bowlers i dont understand why we keep playing with 6 bowlers? we only have 50 overs. Even the great 90s team had only 4 bowlers usually and sohail and malik used to bowl the remaining 10 overs. how many options does misbah need!

  • Arjun on November 11, 2013, 9:31 GMT

    It will be very good for PAK to bring back Kamran Akmal for SA tour. He Brings lots of flexibility at the batting order.He can play as opener, at No 3 or as finisher and obviously he is a WK. In addition, he is a attacking batsman and is technically sound then Hafeez. PAK FAN SOULD REALIZE thatTHOUGH K. AKMAL IS NOT A GOOD WK THAN M KHAN OR LATIF BUT FAR BETTER BATSMAN THEN THEM. Pak have never producer better WK batsman than him..look at his records..Thus bring him in all formats. He has played lots of match winning knocks for pakistan as batsman. Good WK batsman is a big time problem for pakistan once he has been left out....he needs to work hard on his WK role but for me he is a good batsman n should play for PAk as soon as possible...... Pakistan team fan from NEPAL......

  • Dummy4 on November 11, 2013, 9:16 GMT

    Misbah was NOT selecting the team, Iqbal Qasim along with the selection committee was!

    So quit blaming Misbah who along with Shahzad are the only two sound batsman.

    Younis, Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Rzzak, all all-rounders were dead failures.

    The blame on Misbah because the selection committee relied on "old players" is total non-sense and misplaced.

    I agree Pakistan will not lose much by giving a chance to Umar Amin and Harris Sohail.

    Pakistani team needs batting depth and there are plenty of people who can fill the viod. Moin Khan, the current selector, has to give them a chance.

    But, continuous reliance on dead weights can only bring failures and Moin is smart enough to know that!

    Let us see he selects whom for the final ODI: the dead weights or the fresh legs with proven track record.

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