Unthinkable as it would have been a few weeks ago, Pakistan is a decent bet at odds of 2.75 with Bet365 to complete a 3-0 One Day International series whitewash over South Africa.
Pakistan’s tails are up and, because the Pakistanis are the ultimate confidence cricketers, that makes them a dangerous proposition. Pakistan took an unassailable 2-0 lead in its One Day International series against South Africa by winning the first game by 23 runs and the second match by one run. While Pakistan has ridden its luck in both games – it made only 218 runs for nine wickets in the first match, which was a below-par effort that South Africa somehow failed to beat, and it was heading for defeat in the second game with South Africa needing only 11 runs off its final two overs before the Proteas choked spectacularly – its morale has gone through the roof and the home side has injury problems.
South Africa has decided to rest Jacques Kallis, its star all-rounder who top scored for the Proteas in the First One Day International and also took two wickets in that match. South Africa bowler Dale Steyn has a mild left side strain that Proteas management do not want him to exacerbate in what is, essentially, a dead rubber so the home team’s premier paceman will watch from the pavilion as well.
Steyn is particularly important to South Africa as its One Day International record without him leading its bowling attack is decidedly weaker than when he is representing his country in the 50-overs-a-side format. South Africa did not play well versus Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates until the Third One Day International of that five-match series when Steyn returned to the fold having been rested for the first two games. According to the One Day International player rankings, Steyn is South Africa’s third best bowler but there is little to choose between Morne Morkel (eighth), Lonwabo Tsotsobe (ninth) and Steyn (10th) in the statistical standings and Steyn’s menacing presence is worth something to the Proteas that is pretty much impossible to measure.
Pakistan is worth backing at odds of 2.75 to win its Third One Day International against South Africa, which will take place at SuperSport Park in Centurion. And it is the exotics to do with run scoring that make the most appeal in light of Pakistan’s renewed confidence and Steyn’s injury absence.
There is little more dangerous in international cricket than a Pakistan batting line-up with belief coursing through its veins and nothing to lose. With its One Day International series versus South Africa in the bag already, one should expect Pakistan’s batsmen to play without the weight of the world on their shoulders for the first time in a long time. Pakistan’s batsmen are not the most reliable – hence why one has been keen to oppose their team up until this point – but they are exciting when they click and the Third One Day International in Centurion could be where that happens.
Once again, it is the sixes market that stands out from the crowd, with Pakistan available at odds of 2.25 with Sky Bet, to hit more balls over the boundary rope in the Third One Day International than South Africa. Pakistan and South Africa hit three sixes apiece in the First One Day International before the Pakistanis beat the Proteas 4-3 in the Second One Day International sixes battle. With nothing for which to play except professional pride, Pakistan could cut loose against a South Africa side minus Steyn and Kallis, who is no mug with the ball in his hand, either.
Not everyone subscribes to betting on dead rubbers but there are two odds-against plays – Pakistan to win the Third One Day International at odds of 2.75 and the Pakistanis to hit more sixes in the match than the Proteas at odds of 2.25 – that may persuade even those punters to have a wager.