Hafeez has what it takes



South Africa v Pakistan
Monday, 13:30
TV: live on Sky Sports

Odd host selection

The purge by the Indian Premier League on South Africa’s bowling attack did for their chances in game one. How could any team be expected to cope when losing players of the calibre of Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje and Lungi Ngidi? You could add Chris Morris to that, too, if you wish and Marco Jansen after his superb show for Bangalore in game one.

The hosts made a decent fist of things batting first when posting 188. They didn’t do much wrong. Janne Malan, Aiden Markram, Heinrich Klaasen and Pite van Biljon all had strike rates which would interest more IPL scouts. It might be a good idea to get Kyle Verreyenne back into the team, though. It was a surprise he missed out after showing strong form in the ODI series.

Possible XI Malan, Markram, Klaasen, Verreyenne, Van Biljon, Linde, Phehlukwayo, Magala, Hendricks, Williams, Shamsi

Riz the biz

Pakistan’s successful chase in The Wanderers was their highest. That’s not something to shout about one would have thought. Conversely, it shows how strong their bowling can be.

Mohammad Rizwan continued his superb form in the format with another top-bat effort. He made 74. Fakhar Zaman came back into the side at No 3 and struck at 140 to keep the pressure on.

Still, it wouldn’t have been Pakistan without a wobble and they were grateful for superb hitting from the excellent Faheem Ashraf to get them home with a ball to spare.

Possible XI Rizwan, Babar, Fakhar, Hafeez, Haider, Nawz, Faheem, Hasan, Shaeen, Qadir, Rauf

Pitch report

The show remains at Jo’burg where we can expect more of the same run-laden exploits. The last ten first-innings scores at The Wanderers (1-2 denote match won by team batting first or second) read: 188-2/196-1/171-2/155-1/108-2/213-1/203-1/163-2/144-2/181-1.

Sportsbook go 17/10 that both sides score 170 or more. We’re a little wary of Pakistan’s batting reality versus expectation. It is true, of course, they have sublime strokemakers going up against a second-string bowling attack but it is worth pointing out that they have busted 180 only five times (21 innings) batting first. So don’t start playing big numbers on the innings runs.

Trade hosts

Pakistan are as short as 1.635/8 with South Africa 2.447/5. My goodness those are skinny odds about the visitors. We can’t advise taking them.

The 1.608/13 region, as we have often said, is the domain of a very, very impressive T20 side. Pakistan are not that anymore. It was only a few years ago they were top dogs and they came unstuck against South Africa when expected to go well.

There’s nowt wrong with a trade on South Africa making use of that flat wicket batting first. Another 180 would go down very nicely with those looking to get close to 1.804/5 in-play.

Go with Mo

Before game one we were wary of whether to bet Babar Azam for top Pakistan runscorer because we could not be sure he whether he would open. But he did. So Sportsbook’s price-boosted 11/5 has appeal. But not as great appeal as the 5/1 about Mohammad Hafeez. He has as many wins as Babar in the last two years and at a better hit rate so forgive us for switching horses. Rizwan is 13/5. Faheem looks underrated at 22/1.

For South Africa we like Klaasen at 4s and van Biljon at 15/2. Openers Markram and Malan are 11/4 and 13/5 respectively.

**

IPL Preview Part II on Cricket…Only Bettor