South Africa v Pakistan, 4th ODI, Cape Town February 10, 2007

Winning momentum up for grabs

Cricinfo staff



Herschelle Gibbs: 'We are all determined to win the next two games and make sure our preparations are spot on' © Getty Images
Unless Pakistan can persuade the ICC to give them an extension on naming their World Cup squad this will be the last time these two teams play with a chance of swaying opinions. At such a late stage it's unlikely there are many spaces up for grabs, but the chance for a match-winning century or wicket haul can't be ignored.

This series, too, has yet to swing decisively one way or the other and given the crushing nature of the two wins it's hard to say who holds the balance of power. Even the position when events were washed out at Port Elizabeth was hard to call, with run chases a testing prospect at St George's Park.

So the action moves to Newlands, already the scene of plenty of cricket this season, with both sides keen to take winning momentum into the World Cup. Minds are already shifting to the Caribbean, and it's hard to blame the players for that, especially the South Africans who have had an arduous home campaign.

"Although our focus is still on beating Pakistan, the World Cup is at the back of everybody's minds now," Herschelle Gibbs told Bigstarcricket.com. "But I would emphasise that we are all determined to win the next two games and make sure our preparations are spot on before we go to the World Cup.

Gibbs added how he as big ambitions for the World Cup and is pleased to put recent events behind him after serving a three-match ban for his comments during the Centurion Park Test against Pakistan.

"The whole story hasn't come out yet but, to be honest, I don't really want to be dredging it all up any more and I would rather just focus on my cricket," he said. "I've served my time and now I want to get back to my best form and help the team to fulfill our potential.

"My target is to be the player of the tournament at the World Cup and hopefully in a winning side. I have done well there in the past and I'm looking forward to it."

Pakistan are having a challenge maintaining a fully functioning squad and they'll have to make another change as Shahid Afridi serves the first match of his four-game ban. Their gameplan has been based on a long batting order in the last two outings, but Iftikhar Anjum could be drafted into the seam attack.

South Africa (probable) Graeme Smith (capt), AB de Villiers, Jacques Kallis, Herschelle Gibbs, Ashwell Prince, Justin Kemp, Mark Boucher (wk), Shaun Pollock, Andrew Hall, Charl Langeveldt, Makhaya Ntini

Pakistan (from) Imran Nazir, Kamran Akmal (wk), Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf, Inzamam-ul-Haq (capt), Shoaib Malik, Abdul Razzaq, Azhar Mahmood, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, Iftikhar Anjum, Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Sami, Mohammad Hafeez, Zulqarnain Haider, Yasir Hameed, Abdur Rehman