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Match Preview – South Africa vs Pakistan, Pakistan tour of South Africa 2021, 3rd ODI



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Two matches, two high-octane finishes, with two centuries from two players who needed big numbers to their names, and one spirit-of-the-game debate that will keep us talking long after the dust settles on Wednesday. With honours even, the third match is a finale in the truest sense and will decide who earns a series win.

For South Africa, this is the chance to claim a third trophy in nine series under coach Mark Boucher, and a second this summer. For Pakistan, it’s the opportunity to win a series against a top-seven ODI team for the first time since 2013 when they beat South Africa at home. Both teams could also use World Cup Super League points, but South Africa will have to try to get them without almost half of their first-choice team.

Five key players – Quinton de Kock, David Miller, Anrich Nortje, Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi – have left the squad for the IPL which means a complete change to the pace pack and the absence of the chief protagonist in the controversy. de Kock will not be around to take in the conversation around whether his gesturing to the non-striker’s end when Fakhar Zaman was run out at his ends amounted to wilful deceit. Both Zaman and the match officials didn’t think so and to them, at least, the matter is closed. So is the question of whether Pakistan would have successfully chased 342. They didn’t get there but showed enough fight and will fancy their chances against a less-experienced South African attack in the decider.

With the three main quicks gone, South Africa will lose out on the combined experience of 114 ODI caps. The replacements, likely to be Lutho Sipamla, Daryn Dupavillon and one of Beuran Hendricks or Junior Dala have a total of 14 caps between them, so Pakistan could see that as a potential area to exploit.

Form guide

South Africa WLWWW (last five completed ODIs, most recent first)
Pakistan LWLWW

This was never expected to be a series for spinners with only one wicket between Tabraiz Shamsi and Shadab Khan and with the latter ruled out with injury, it’s the former that’s under our microscope. Shamsi shot from the hip in defence of de Kock and got into a few Twitter tangles, but those are not kinds of webs he’ll want to be weaving. Shamsi has been South Africa’s second-most expensive bowler so far and will want to show he can play a holding role if required. Otherwise, Shamsi will know that Keshav Maharaj, who enjoyed strong domestic returns over the past two summers, is an alternative South Africa may want to consider in more seamer-friendly conditions.

With Nortje away at the IPL, Haris Rauf has the opportunity to finish as the series’ leading wicket-taker. He currently has five to his name, two behind Nortje’s seven, and has made breakthroughs at crucial times. In the first ODI, Rauf got rid of David Miller immediately after he reached fifty; in the second, he accounted for both de Kock and Temba Bavuma as they went in search of boundaries. Thought Rauf has been more expensive than he might like – both he and Mohammad Hasnain have conceded at 6.3 runs an over – he has taken a wicket every four overs, while Hasnain only has one in every ten. After four ODIs, Rauf looks like a player who could create a regular spot for himself in Pakistan’s XI.

South Africa will have to make five changes to their XI – two in the top six and the entire pace pack – following the departure of players to the IPL. That will mean a new opening partner for Aiden Markram with Janneman Malan getting an opportunity after many considered him unlucky to miss out in the first place. Kyle Verreynne will replace David Miller with Heinrich Klaasen likely to remain at No. 6 and take over the wicketkeeping duties. South Africa’s big conundrum is how to make up for the absence of Rabada, Ngidi and Nortje. Sipamla and Dupavillon are expected to slot in and a decision is to be made between left-armer Hendricks and a second spinner in Maharaj.

South Africa (probable): 1 Aiden Markram, 2 Janneman Malan, 3 Temba Bavuma (capt), 4 Rassie van der Dussen, 5 Kyle Verreynne, 6 Heinrich Klaasen (wk), 7 Andile Phehlukwayo, 8 Beuran Hendricks/Keshav Maharaj, 9 Daryn Dupavillon, 10 Lutho Sipamla, 11 Tabraiz Shamsi

Pakistan have one enforced change after Khan was ruled out of the tour with a toe injury. Usman Qadir will step into his place. They may also make a change to their No. 6 position, with Asif Ali’s scores of 19 and 2 necessitating a switch. Haider Ali could earn his third ODI cap. Hasan Ali, who was declared fit ahead of the series but has yet to play a game, could also be called on, likely in place of Hasnain.

Pakistan (probable): 1 Imam-ul-Haq, 2 Fakhar Zaman, 3 Babar Azam (capt), 4 Mohammad Rizwan (wk), 5 Danish Aziz, 6 Asif Ali/Haider Ali, 7 Usman Qadir, 8 Faheem Ashraf, 9 Mohammad Hasnain/Hasan Ali, 10 Shaheen Shah Afridi, 11 Haris Rauf

The series moves back to Centurion where the early morning conditions offered something for the quicks and batting eased out later in the day. The slightly cooler and wetter weather may narrow that gap, with rain expected overnight and at some point on the game day. The temperature will hove in the upper and mid-20s as the season changes.

Stats and trivia

  • Imam-ul-Haq could become the second-fastest player to 2000 ODI runs. He is currently on 1909 from 42 innings, two innings behind Hashim Amla and three ahead of Zaheer Abbas. Earlier in the series, Babar Azam became the fourth-fastest to 2000 runs, in 45 innings.
  • The last time South Africa lost a series decider was in 2015 in Bangladesh. Since then they have won 13 out of 16 bilateral ODI series, including beating New Zealand (2015 & 2017), India (2015), England (2016), Australia (2018) and Pakistan (2019) in the final match of a series.


It’s a massive loss but in saying that, it’s an opportunity for the guys that are on the fringes. In 2023, we are going to play a World Cup. We want to see if our big names get injured, that we’ve got someone who can step up.
Charl Langeveldt chooses to see the silver lining after the loss of five first-choice players

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent

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County Championship 2021 – Tom Westley seeks uplift after ‘strange’ start to Essex’s twin title defence



Halfway through the group stage of the Championship, and Essex have got it all to do. The defending champions are currently fifth in Group One – albeit only 15 points off a top-two spot – and in need of a run of good form in order to make sure of qualifying for Division One when the competition splits. If Tom Westley, Essex’s captain, had been hoping a return to Chelmsford would spark an uplift after two defeats and a draw on the road, then a washed-out first day against Derbyshire only served to dampen the mood.

Westley admits it has been a “strange start” to the season. Having scored 490 for 9 declared in their opening game, only to be held to a draw by Worcestershire, Essex then recovered from being skittled for 96 by Durham to defend their manor in the manner to which most observers have become accustomed – scrapping hard in the second innings to post a target of 168, and then defending it ruthlessly on the back of another Simon Harmer ten-for.

But defeats at Edgbaston, by seven wickets, and Trent Bridge, by an innings, either side of another stalemate away to Worcestershire have left Westley puzzling over how to get what he views as “the best team in the country” playing like they can.

“Things definitely could be going a bit better,” he tells ESPNcricinfo. “It’s been quite challenging, a bit disappointing for the standards that we set at Essex. We’re used to winning lots of games of cricket, which hasn’t been the case this year. Halfway through, still a lot of games to be played and the group is tight – if you win a couple of games all of a sudden you’re right back up there.

“It’s been quite strange, in that we’ve been bowled out for less than 100 twice, and we’ve also got 500 twice. We haven’t been able to piece the whole game together with bat and ball. Certain games we’ve batted really well and bowled not as well, and in other games we’ve bowled well and not batted well. Which is the crux of cricket, I suppose.

“It’s immensely frustrating not being able to piece it together. It’s been a reminder of how hard four-day cricket is, especially when the some of the surfaces have been either way – very flat or [doing a bit]. It’s a strange start for us.”

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Recent Match Report – Kent vs Sussex Group 3 2021




Fast bowler confirms bid for full fitness is back on track after fiery opening gambit at Hove

Sussex 51 for 2 trail Kent 145 (Leaning 63; Robinson 3-29, Garton 3-65, Archer 2-29) by 94 runs

When Jofra Archer last played a first-class match at Hove he was not a World Cup winner nor had he played in an Ashes series. The game took place in September 2018 and was memorable for the final first-class centuries of both Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell. Trott’s hundred satisfied the technicians; Bell’s pleased the aesthetes and brings them comfort still. Archer had played 10 IPL games for Rajasthan Royals and was plainly England’s next big thing. But his four late wickets against Warwickshire hardly disturbed the universe and certainly nobody gave a monkey’s what he did with his fish tank apart, one assumes, from the fish. The age of aquaria had not yet dawned.

That era is upon us now, though, and so Archer is perhaps fortunate that he is based in Brighton, where other-worldliness is an asset and where shredding your finger cleaning up after your piscine pets is something that could happen to anyone. Even more than Britain’s metropolises this city is a shrine to the outré and the baroque. Archer is thus an extraordinary cricketer in a city filled with extraordinary people and maybe he enjoys the camouflage, even if such concealment is not always available. The news that he had recovered sufficiently from a right-elbow injury to be named in Sussex’s squad for this game against Kent brought extra photographers and journalists to the County Ground and in the first half an hour of the day we could all see why.

In Archer’s third over Daniel Bell-Drummond was beaten for pace and bounce; the catch went very fast to second slip where George Garton made it look laughably easy. Next over, though, Archer over-pitched and Zak Crawley helped himself to four runs past wide mid-on. We settled down for a duel between a couple of England’s Test cricketers, only for it to end two balls later when Crawley could do nothing with sharp lift and movement off a length except nick the ball to Ben Brown.

“Usually I bowl to Zak n the [England] nets and I have done that quite a bit,” observed Archer when our day’s cricket was done. “Obviously, you’re never out in the nets so it was good to get him out here, with umpires.”

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ICC consider expanding T20 World Cup to 20 teams




Change of attitude from governing body with shorter form seen as vehicle for growth

The T20 World Cup could be increased to include 20 teams as part of the ICC’s attempts to develop the game globally.

While the 2021 tournament, currently scheduled to be played in India, will still feature 16 teams, ESPNcricinfo understands there are plans to increase that number from the 2024 edition. Current thinking suggests that version of the event will feature four groups of five teams in its opening phase.

The ICC has long seen the T20 format as a vehicle for the game’s expansion and there has been previous talk of such an expansion. The ICC have already confirmed their plans to increase the number of teams in their women’s competitions.

But the move sustains a notably more inclusive recent approach from the ICC across formats. This is also likely to involve an increased number of teams (from 10 to 14) in the 50-over World Cup, a more positive attitude towards participation in the Olympics and talk of a return of the Intercontinental Cup (albeit with a different name).

It is, perhaps, the move to increasing the number of teams in the 50-over World Cup which provides the most revealing insight into the changing mood of the ICC. In recent years, the ICC cut the number of teams in the 50-over World Cup (from 16 in 2007, to 14 in 2011 and 2015 and 10 in 2019) arguing that broadcasters preferred the streamlined format with the probability of fewer one-sided games.

There is, however, understood to be a growing appreciation of the need to balance long-term global development with the monetary value of short-term broadcast deals. It may be relevant, too, that since the powers of the ‘Big Three’ were rolled back in 2017, the influence of other nations has grown.

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