Ed Hawkins looks at game four in Jo'burg on Sunday and says Pakistan are worth an interest again...
"A toss bias would be useful but in the absence of that we are left to ponder whether Pakistan's bowlers can have such a bad day again"
South Africa v India
Sunday 27 January 08.00
TV: live on Sky Sports
South Africa hit heights
South Africa have a 2-1 lead and they will be delighted with their effort at Centurion following a defeat in the opener and a haphazard show in Durban. This was a strong performance.
Sure, they conceded 317 but on a fine batting wicket that was under par and they never allowed Pakistan to get away from them.
Dale Steyn, Beuran Hendricks, on debut, and Kagiso Rabada, were excellent. Andile Phehlukwayo was a little expensive but you have to let him off after a fine show in game two.
There is a weakness with the ball. Tabraiz Shamsi just doesn't seem to have what is required at this level and he went for eight an over. It might be a good idea to give Imran Tahir a game.
Don't be harsh On Pakistan
If South Africa are cockahoop, Pakistan will be sorely disappointed. They never looked like defending the target and that South Africa won by 13 runs after 33 overs under D-L proves they never had a grip.
It's difficult to be harsh on them, though. They were [3.0] shots after all. The irritation from their backers will come from a belief at the break that they were on course for victory, as the market also believed.
Imam-ul-Haq had anchored the innings with a fine century while Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik had put their foot down. Imad Wasim through his weight around. He belted 43 from 23 balls.
A great shame, then, that their strongest suit - bowling - couldn't get the job done. We have no idea why Mohammad Amir, with one wicket in his last nine, is in the team. Best bring back Usman Shinwari or Faheem Ashraf.
Jo'burg one for batters
The last 14 first-innings scores (most recent last with 1/2 denoting game won by side batting first or second) read: 289-1/163-2/361-1/263-2/275-1/315-1/146-2/129-2/233-2/190-1/312-2/343-1/358-1/439-1. That's a fifty-fifty split on the toss. More than 270 seems a minimum.
Assistance for tourists
South Africa are [1.45] and Pakistan [3.10]. Despite the series scoreline and the power the Saffers showed in game three, we can't have them at that price. And we always say: what's the point of a tipping service that recommends [1.45] shots?
Still, we might have to be a bit cannier with Pakistan. A toss bias would be useful but in the absence of that we are left to ponder whether their bowlers can have such a bad day again.
The helping hand may come in the form of rain. A shortened match might assist considering Pakistan's unrivalled T20 form.
That uncertainty tempts us to give Pakistan another whirl at what are, frankly, big odds.
Avoid De Kock
Quinton De Kock, restored after a rest, is the 16/5 (Betfair Sportsbook) shared jolly for top SA bat. He's not a fancy at that price considering his record at Jo'burg - 57 runs in three. Hashim Amla and Faf Du Plessis both have vastly superior records averaging 73 and 56 respectively. Amla, along with Reeza Hendricks, is also 16/5 Du Plessis is 9/2.
Imam has two top-bat efforts out of three so he may feel a little aggrieved to still be as big as 7/2 (Betfair Sportsbook). He should be favourite ahead of Babar Azam at 16/5. Fakhar Zaman has been slow to get going but statistically he's shorter that 4s.
Ed Hawkins P-L
Based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running match advice or commission rate. Figures 2013-2016 on 1pt level stakes. New points system (0.5pt-5) introduced for 2017. Includes Hawk-Eye stats column p-l
Back Pakistan [3.10] (0.5pts)