South Africa crushed Pakistan by 68 runs in the Third One Day International and one would be a brave punter to bet against the Proteas in the fourth game of the series.
Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn returned to South Africa’s team for the Third One Day International and, while the Proteas probably received a confidence boost from having these two genuine superstars back in their ranks, neither Amla nor Steyn played hugely significant roles in their victory.
Amla was the first South Africa batsman to lose his wicket, making 10 runs off 19 balls before Mohammad Irfan knocked over the stumps of the world’s top-rated batsman. Steyn was responsible for the fall of Pakistan’s first wicket, getting Ahmed Shehzad caught by Amla but snaring no additional victims in his eight overs that went for 31 runs.
South Africa made 259 runs in its 50 overs before bowling out Pakistan for 191 runs. In summary, for the first time in the five-match One Day International series between Pakistan and South Africa in the neutral environment of the United Arab Emirates, the Proteas played as well with the bat as they did with the ball. Once again, Pakistan bowled okay but the de facto home side’s batting line-up played terribly. No Pakistan batsman got past 33 runs and, in what can only be described as a major concern, South Africa’s very ordinary spinner, Imran Tahir, snared four wickets. Tahir was almost laughed out of Australia when her toured the great southern land with South Africa, lambasted as a spin bowler who did not spin the ball. In the Second Test at the Adelaide Oval in November 2012, Tahir ended up with match figures of no wicket for 260 runs off 37 runs on a pitch that was, as if often the case, receptive to spin and slow bowling. That Tahir is dismissing Pakistan batsman with great regularity should be a worry to every Pakistani fan in the world.
The Fourth One Day International will take place at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, which was the venue for the First One Day International just over one week ago. The game has become known in cricket circle as the match that in which Pakistan snatched defeat from the jaws of victory because the Pakistanis needed 19 runs off 55 balls with six wickets in hand yet managed to lose to South Africa by one run.
Spinners were the major wicket takers in the First One Day International so there are two Fourth One Day International bets that appeals: South Africa to win the game and wrap up the series with one match remaining and Tahir to be the top bowler for the Proteas. One cannot believe that one is advocating the second of those wagers but times change.
South Africa is available at odds of 1.67 with Youwin, to hammer the final nail in Pakistan’s One Day International series coffin. Pakistan failed to take full advantage of playing a South Africa team minus Amla and Steyn in the first two games – the Pakistanis really ought to have been up 2-0 – and now they are paying the price for that.
Ladbrokes is offering odds of 4.50 that Tahir takes more wickets than any other South Africa bowler in the Fourth One Day International. Either Tahir has improved out of sight in recent times or simply he has the number of Pakistan’s batsman. Whichever one it is – actually, it could be both – does not matter. Tahir should be the favourite on this exotic market but he playing second fiddle to Steyn.