Ed Hawkins previews game two of three from Jo'burg on Sunday and says Pakistan can make amends...
"Their epic winning sequence has been built on going big and defending with 17 wins out of 21. Sure, they have eight wins in nine fielding first but the former record is hugely impressive over a longer study period"
South Africa v Pakistan
Sunday 3 February, 12:30
Live on Sky Sports
Du Plessis out
South Africa rested Hashim Amla, Dale Steyn, Imran Tahir and Kagiso Rabada for game one in Cape Town. All gun players. And yet their reserve team downed the best T20 side in the world. Not bad for an evening's work.
Reeza Hendricks and Faf Du Plessis set up the win with flashing blades. Hendricks hit 74 off 41 and Du Plessis 78 from 58. And although they would probably be disappointed not to bust 200 after a middle-order wobble, their bowlers held on. Just.
Indeed, if there was any sign that this wasn't a full-strength South Africa it was in the field. They had some nervous moments right up until the final over. Andile Phehlukwayo, another senior man, proved to be the difference with an econ rate of 6.7.
They will be weaker here, though. There is no Quinton de Kock, who was in the squad but has not recovered from a groin injury, while Du Plessis has decided to pout his feet up. Janne Malan, strong in the Mzansi Super League, has been called up.
Shape up Pakistan
Before defeat in Cape Town Pakistan had won 25 of their last 29. So they would have expected little trouble from a depleted South Africa.
The culprits were the bowlers. They allowed the hosts to get away from them after Imad Wasim had been tight. Faheem Ashraf and Shadab Khan had been uncharacteristically expensive, both going for more than 12 an over. With those two unreliable and Shoaib Malik's one over going for 12 Hussain Talat was called on for one over. He disappeared for 14.
We don't expect another shoddy bowling display and Shaheen Shah Afridi could get a game to combine once again with Usman Shinwari, who did emerge with credit. Ashraf could be the man to make way.
Mohammad Hafeez missed the match with a hamstring injury and he remains a doubt. Mohammad Rizwan will keep the gloves with Sarfaraz Ahmed banned.
Bat first, aim for 170
The average first-innings total at Jo'burg is 163. However, if you manage to bust 170 you're winning 67% of the time. There is no discernible toss bias under lights but in all matches there's a slight bonus to chasing with a 56% win rate.
Tourists a bet batting first
Pakistan have been chopped from [2.1] to [1.95] favourites off the back of the team news. And that is fair enough.
Had the market not adjusted we would have had no hesitation in advising a sizeable chunk on the tourists but with the odds more in line with what they should be we have to be reigned in.
We're still on Pakistan, though. Instead of going big we'll be cannier and keep the toss on our side. That is to say we want to be on Pakistan when they are wearing their strongest suit, if you will.
Their epic winning sequence has been built on going big and defending with 17 wins out of 21. Sure, they have eight wins in nine fielding first but the former record is hugely impressive over a longer study period.
South Africa's batting line-up has been picked apart. Hendricks, given game one, will be a popular wager at 3s with Betfair Sportsbook. Malan gets a 7/2 quote. If Pakistan get their new-ball mojo working the likes of David Miller at 11/2 and Heinrich Klaasen at 8s could turn out to be value.
Babar bonkers value
Babar Azam looked like carrying Pakistan to an unlikely victory at one stage with a rapid 38. He missed out on a top-bat effort, though, with talat and Shoaib outscoring him. Shoaib landed. We will bet him to cop this time, though. The 3/1 is a great price. He is Pakistan's top runscorer over the last two years and his win rate in his career on this market is a sensational 40%. That means he qualifies as a Hawk Eye rated wager.
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
Pakistan bat first [1.90] or better (3pts)
Back Babar Azam top Pakistan bat 3/1 Betfair Sportsbook (1pt)