While the gulf between the two sides was evident in the Test format, they are more evenly matched when it comes to one-dayers with South Africa holding the fourth spot while Pakistan are placed in fifth.
As the two sides get ready to take the field in the first ODI at Port Elizabeth on Saturday, we take a look at the key talking points.
PAKISTAN LOOK TO WHITE-BALL COMFORTS
While they were at the receiving end of a whitewash in the Test matches, Pakistan can take comfort from their limited-overs form where they have been one of the most exciting teams to watch over the past two years or so.
The Men in Green have been the runaway leaders for some time now in the T20 format where they have won 11 series on the bounce. However, they will be desperate to translate that remarkable consistency into their ODI showings as well.
Sarfraz Ahmed and his men failed to get going in the 50-over format in 2018 with a 5-0 whitewash over minnows Zimbabwe being their only silver lining. They now have a chance to remedy those woes and get their 2019 campaign off to a flyer.
It will be important for them to perform well in South Africa to generate some momentum heading into the ICC World Cup in England later this summer.
RASSIE VAN DER DUSSEN SET FOR PROTEAS DEBUT
While the hosts will be without the services of Quinton de Kock and Dale Steyn for the first two ODIs, they have an exciting talent in the form of Rassie van der Dussen primed for a one-day debut.
The 29-year-old finished as the top-scorer in the recent Mzansi Super League T20 he racked up a total of 469 runs in 11 innings at a strike-rate of nearly 139. Capable of batting in any spot across the batting order, Dussen has the capability of changing the momentum of the game in a matter of overs.
He is not the only South African in line for an ODI debut on Saturday with pacer Duanne Olivier also in the fray. With Steyn rested and Lungi Ngidi missing with injury, Olivier could be just what the hosts need to compliment Kagiso Rabada in the pace battery.
The seamer destroyed Pakistan in the Test series with a staggering 24-wicket haul and his short-pitched bowling could work a treat against their batsmen in the limited-overs formats as well.
SARFRAZ WRESTLES WITH OPENING DILEMMA
While Pakistan skipper Sarfraz will be delighted to have the services of veterans Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez in the limited-overs clashes, he has a difficult decision to make when it comes to the opening slots.
Despite his Test disappointment, Fakhar Zaman will be key for Pakistan at the top in the ODIs but who he is partnered with remains to be seen. Imam-ul-Haq has been a consistent performer in the format since his international debut and has four tons to his name in just 16 innings.
However, Sarfraz also has the option of handing Shan Masood an ODI debut and given the batsman’s performance in the Test series where he finished as Pakistan’s top-scorer, it would be hard for the skipper to turn him down.
That would mean breaking up the Fakhar-Imam combination but with the World Cup coming up in a few months, the Pakistan camp will like to take a look at all the options at their disposal.
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