The visitors started the series in impressive fashion with a five-wicket win in Port Elizabeth and will be looking to bring that form to Kingsmead.
Ahead of the second ODI between the two sides, we take a look at the key talking points.
PAKISTAN IN BUOYANT FORM
While they were made to look like headless chickens at time in the Test series, Pakistan are looking like a completely different beast in the ODI format.
Sarfraz Ahmed and his men were excellent in the series opener with both bat and ball. Their bowlers were instrumental in not letting South Africa run away with the scoring despite taking only wickets with Shadab Khan and Hasan Ali impressive in particular.
In the batting department, opener Imam-ul-Haq dazzled with 86 while Babar Azam continued his stellar form with a 49. More importantly, veteran all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez performed the finisher’s role to perfection with an unbeaten 71 to help Pakistan cross the finish line.
The No1 ranked T20 outfit look to have most of their bases covered and are establishing themselves as a formidable limited-overs outfit.
HOSTS LOOK TO SOLVE ODI PUZZLE
The shock retirement of star batsman AB de Villiers has left the Proteas looking shaky ahead of the World Cup in England. The void his retirement has left in the batting unit was greatly illustrated in the first ODI where South Africa could only muster 266 runs from their 50 overs despite losing only two wickets.
Hashim Amla brought up a 27th ton in the format but the opener’s slow rate of scoring was blamed for the hosts’ loss. There were a few positives to take for Faf du Plessis and his men with the performance of debutant Rassie van der Dussen being the biggest of them all.
Dussen showed his white-ball prowess with a fluent 93 but there are still many holes in South Africa’s ODI setup. The hosts have opted to rest Quinton de Kock and Dale Steyn for the first two ODIs in order to try various combinations and they will be hoping to find a few answers come Tuesday.
PROTEAS AIM TO OVERCOME PAKISTAN’S RECENT RECORD
The five-wicket defeat in Port Elizabeth extended the poor run for the hosts against Pakistan in ODIs. That loss meant South Africa have now lost five out of their last six 50-over encounters against Pakistan with the losing run stretching back to Pakistan’s tour of the country in 2013-14.
Du Plessis was not too far from the truth when he termed Pakistan as a better ODI outfit prior to the start of the series. Despite their brilliance in the Test format, South Africa have failed to translate that success to one-day cricket with their 1-5 loss to India at home last year a testament to their struggles.
With time running out for the World Cup, the hosts will be desperate to bring a turnaround in fortunes in their ODI game but for that they will first have to break the stranglehold Pakistan currently have over them.
Warner had to return home early from his maiden BPL stint after sustaining an injury to his elbow and the left-handed batsman is set to get it assessed at Melbourne on Tuesday.
Both Steve Smith and Warner lent their participation to the BPL this year as they continued to serve their one-year suspension from international and domestic cricket. However, both the Aussies suffered elbow injuries in the tournament and had to cut short their respective stints.
Warner’s injury is not feared to be as bad as Smith’s who underwent surgery on his elbow last week. The former Australia skipper will be in an arm brace for the next six weeks and faces a race against time to be fit for the ODI series against Pakistan in the UAE.
Smith has already ruled himself out of the 2019 edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) where he was due to represent the Multan franchise but is expected to play a part in the Indian Premier League with Rajasthan Royals.
Both Smith and Warner were suspended by Cricket Australia following their roles in the infamous ball-tampering saga that erupted during Australia’s tour of South Africa in March, 2018.
Their 12-month bans come to an end on March 28 and both the batsmen will be jostling for spots in Australia’s ODI squad for the 2019 ICC World Cup in England to be held in the summer.
Following an appeal for financial help from Jacob Martin’s family, several ex-players have come to the aid of the former India batsman.
Martins has been battling for his life ever since he met with a road accident on December 28 and is currently on a life support system at a Vadodara hospital. Following the misfortune, Jacob’s family had appealed to the BCCI for financial support to aid his recovery.
The cricketing body has already pledged financial assistance to the former batsman along with the Baroda Cricket Association.
Former India skipper Sourav Ganguly has now become the latest figure to voice his support for Martin and his family.
“Martin and I have been teammates and I remember him as a quiet, introvert-type of person. While praying for Martin’s speedy recovery, I’d like his family to know that they don’t stand alone,” Ganguly told The Telegraph.
Ganguly was skipper of India when Martin made his ODI debut against Zimbabwe in 1999. The Baroda batsman would go on to play a total of 10 ODIs for India with his last international appearance coming in 2001.
“It’s overwhelming that Zaheer Khan, Yusuf and Irfan Pathan, Munaf Patel, Sourav and Ravi, among others, have come forward to extend a helping hand in this time of distress for Martin’s family,” former BCCI and Baroda Cricket Association secretary Sanjay Patel had told the Indian Express.