Ed Hawkins previews game three from Centurion on Friday and says it's a must to keep faith in the tourists...
"Sure, they might struggle to blast 330 or more but their bowlers are canny. Defeat in Durban showed they were up for a challenge"
South Africa v Pakistan
Friday 25 January 11.00
TV: live on Sky Sports
South Africa bolstered
South Africa levelled the series with a seat-squirming success in Durban. The five-wicket margin looked cosy in the end but they were in dire straits at 80 for five.
Despite the win, that top order batting collapse and a curious bowling show will leave the hosts with plenty of food for thought. Earlier they had knocked over Pakistan to a lowly 112 for eight. So how the hell did they allow Pakistan back in to post 203?
Andile Phehlukwayo took four wickets and hit an unbeaten 69. Not surprisingly he got the man of the match award. Extra humiliation for Sarfaraz Ahmed, the Pakistan captain, for racially abusing the all-rounder. Why he's not been banned is a mystery.
The Saffers are boosted for this one, though with Quinton de Kock and Dale Steyn returning to the XI after being rested for the first two matches. But out go Duanne Olivier, who has been dangerous, and Heinrich Klaasen. Jozi Stars pacer Beuran Hendricks has also been added.
It is worth remembering that Pakistan were at least [2.60] to make it 2-0. That they managed to show such courage and fight is to their credit and we can't be too harsh on them.
They battled hard with the bat with Sarfaraz and Hasan Ali conjuring a late stand worth 90. Hasan landed monumental odds to top score.
And they got their selection right. Usman Shinwari made way for Shaheen Shah Afridi who promptly ripped through the top three to make a game of it. Shadab Khan was also in on the action.
Hussain Talat replaced Imad Wasim for the game and his continued involvement depends on the pitch. It's seam or spin respectively.
Gotta go big
There have been six ODI played under lights at Centurion in the last five years. It's a 3/3 split on the toss. The first-innings scores (1-2 denote match won by team bat 1st or 2nd, most recent first) read: 204-2/384-1/294-2/318-2/304-1/361-1. On those numbers if you're not busting 330 you could be in trouble.
That's not particularly helpful to either side. Both are struggling to show ferocious power with the bat although South Africa would argue they're the more likely to go big with De Kock back.
Avoid short odds on hosts
South Africa are [1.46] to make it 2-1. We don't believe they've shown anywhere near enough skill or power to be considered worthy of support at that price. Indeed, there isn't a team in the world we'd be rushing to get with at those odds, let alone a middle-ranking one.
We will keep faith with Pakistan at a generous [3.0], largely because we're enamoured by their bowling stocks. Sure, they might struggle to blast 330 or more but their bowlers are canny. Defeat in Durban showed they were up for a challenge.
De Kock's brilliant record
De Kock is back just in time for his favourite ground. He has four centuries in seven appearances at Centurion, meaning he has a ridiculous average of 80. He is 5/2 with Betfair Sportsbook for top SA runscorer honours. It's probably worth mentioning he's 7/1 for man of the match, too. Hashim Amla also has a fabulous record. It's five tons in 14 for him. He is 11/4 for honours.
Imam worth a wager
Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam and Imam-ul-Haq are all 7/2 for top Pakistan runscorer. Only two are worth following on 'wrong' price rationale. That's Fakhar and Imam. Considering Imam's form in game one he'll most likely be the fancy.
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 [3.0] (1pt)