After their ignominious wash out in the first ODI at Bloemfontein Pakistan came back like a tornado in Centurion and blew away South Africa. Now both teams are standing on even footing with each itching to get past the other in third ODI to be played at Wanderers on Sunday. But witnessing the spectacular manner in which South Africa was decimated in the second ODI one tends to believe it will hold an upper hand if their team functions at even 60% of the efficiency it displayed on Last Friday. However, there is one bad news that has emanated from the Pakistan camp and that might upset all forecasts, predictions and assumptions.
Mahammed Irfan who shook the foundations of South Africa on Friday and literally held them thunderstruck, might not be able to take the field on Sunday due to hamstring muscle pull. If it indeed happens it will sure be bad news for Pakistan in their quest for a decisive lead in the series. They would have no option but to hand over to Umar Gul the reins of opening the bowling attack.
Unar Gul has been below par in this entire foreign tour if we leave that 5 for 6 in the T20 as more of an aberration. In the first game of the ODI series he could bother Smith a little but in the second game he simply faded into insignificance. If Irfan would not have produced that magical fiery spell Pakistan would sure have eaten a humble pie once again.
It would be unfair though if nothing is said about the efficacy of Pakitani spinners. They sure did perform to the best of their abilities and with Saeed Ajmal in the midst are always a source of threat and danger to any batting side in the world.
We would surely do injustice to Pakistan batsmen if we keep on harping in praise of Mohammed Irfan and his fellow bowlers. Kamran Akmal proved he is no push over with the bat as he opened the innings at Centurion and there is absolutely no doubt that he will once again perform the same duty at Wanderers. Mahammed Hafeez might have to move down at umber three and being the superlative cricketer he is there is no doubt he will perform well. Pakistan captain, though handicapped due to the near certain absence of Irfan, is nonetheless pretty much hopeful of defeating South Africa on Sunday and take that all important lead in the ODI series.
AB de Villiers is not sitting idle either as he feels none of the two games that have till now been played could be called a contest in the real sense of the term as one of teams always played so better that the other team that it was not a contest but a cake walk by the winning team on each occasion. The situation has become really interesting because Pakistan and South Africa have won one game each in such a dominating manner that it is anybody’s guess to determine which one among them is the better of the other.
In such a situation, both teams will aim at each other’s jugular on Sunday to put a final stamp of supremacy in this well balanced series.