|Finished.272 & 298 - 201 & 274
Following Pakistan’s triumph in the first match, they will be looking to not only win the series, but whitewash the visitors outright for the first time in their cricketing history. They need it, too, considering the fact that they haven’t won a series against the Proteas since 2003, and have only won a total of 5 matches against them against 15 losses. South Africa on the other hand should realistically be aiming for damage control rather than a win, as that will be more than a little ambitious given the state of their team. That being said, the Rawalpindi pitch is much closer to what the South Africans get at home, so it’s going to be a battle of wits and skills that decides this series. Before said battle commences, let’s take a look at the two sides.
Babar Azam (c), Abid Ali, Azhar Ali, Fawad Alam, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), Yasir Shah, Nauman Ali, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi.
Preview and form
Nothing like victory in the first Test of a series, and it should pump Pakistan up enough to make sure the morale problems that have plagued them for so long don’t persist. In the first Test, the Pakistanis were bowling first, and managed to knock off wickets every few overs to make sure South Africa only got to 220. Yasir Shah led the attack with 3 wickets, while Shaheen Shah Afridi and Nauman Ali took 2 each, and Pakistan were further helped by some poor running by the South Africans which gifted them two run outs. In their own first innings, Pakistan were off to a disastrous start, but their innings was given renewed power by Azhar Ali’s 51, Fawad Alam’s 109, and Faheem Ashraf’s 64 along with a few other smaller contributions, finishing on 378.
With a substantial lead, Pakistan set about dismantling the South African resistance, and a five-for by Nauman Ali and four wickets from Yasir Shah helped them do so at a point where they only had to chase down 87, and Azhar Ali’s 31 and Babar Azam’s 30 were enough to help get them there with plenty of time remaining.
PAK Key players
Babar Azam: He may have had a relatively quiet game, but Babar’s potential makes him an invaluable asset.
Fawad Alam: Fawad’s triumphant return to the Test format has been underscored by two solid centuries, and we think there will be more to come.
Nauman Ali: After his crucial five-for in the second innings and 7 wickets overall, it’s hard to leave Nauman out of this list.
Yasir Shah: With the same number of wickets as Nauman, Yasir also deserves similar plaudits.
Quinton de Kock (c/wk), Temba Bavuma, Aiden Markram, Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Rassie van der Dussen, Anrich Nortje, George Linde, Keshav Maharaj.
Preview and form
If you’ve followed South African cricket over the years, it must be hard to see the team in this state. Not to take anything away from Pakistan’s performance, but the South Africa of old rarely lost such a match. Batting first, Dean Elgar did a good job before a blow on the hand caused him to play some wonky shots and get dismissed at 58, but after him, only George Linde’s 35 stood out as no other batsman managed to even get to 25. Getting bowled out for 220, South Africa then failed to capitalize on an early advantage. Eventually, through Kagiso Rabada and Keshav Maharaj’s triple hauls and Anrich Nortje and Lungi Ngidi’s two-fors, they managed to end Pakistan’s innings at 378.
In their second innings, the Proteas had a solid start with Aiden Markram’s 74 and Rassie van der Dussen’s 64, but after that, only Temba Bavuma’s 40 made a notable contribution, and the team crumbled for a further 245. Despite 2 more wickets from Nortje and one from Maharaj, the visitors naturally couldn’t defend 87, and lost by 7 wickets.
SA Key players
Dean Elgar: With his hand fully healed by now, Elgar should be continuing his good form.
Aiden Markram: After a solid performance in the second innings, Markram will be relied upon heavily by the Proteas.
Anrich Nortje: The fast bowler took a fair few wickets in the first Test, and we believe he’ll find success again in the second.
Keshav Maharaj: Maharaj was decent in the first Test, and like Nortje will have to do the bulk of the wicket-taking.
Pakistan vs South Africa weather conditions and pitch report
With rain clouds clearing up by the time it’s time for play to start, the first day might pose a slower outfield, but this should become much better as the days roll on, because from then on it’s going to be cool, sunny, and not very windy - perfect conditions for cricket.
Shoaib Akhtar was known as the Rawalpindi Express for a reason - the pitch at Pindi is a speedsters’ heaven. There will be pace, bounce, and movement galore for those able to create such. However, a fast pitch also means batsmen will have a nice time timing the ball as long as they can see out the initial spells of swing. As the game matures, spinners should also find some decent turn with the pitch breaking up. Batting first is not recommended on this pitch, and scores of 500+ aren’t very foreign either.
Can Pakistan create history with a whitewash over South Africa? Or will the Proteas stand tall and manage to even out the series? Find out if our Pakistan versus South Africa predictions come true starting Thursday!
|PAK Top Batsman:
|SA Top Batsman:
|PAK Top Bowler (Wickets):
|SA Top Bowler (Wickets):
|Players to score a fifty:
|B Azam/M Rizwan/F Alam (PAK), T Bavuma/D Elgar/A Markram (SA)
|Players to score a century:
|B Azam/F Alam (PAK), D Elgar/A Markram (SA)