The two teams are locked at 1-1 in the series after the hosts cancelled out Pakistan’s win at Port Elizabeth with a five-wicket victory at Durban.
Ahead of the pivotal third ODI, we take a look at the key talking points.
PROTEAS RING IN THE CHANGES
After resting pacer Dale Steyn and wicketkeeper batsman Quinton de Kock, South Africa have recalled the big guns for the final three ODIs. Along with Steyn and de Kock, pacer Beuran Hendricks has been added to the squad for the remainder of the series.
The left-armer has played seven T20s for the Proteas but is yet to be capped at the one-day level. To make way for the trio, Duanne Olivier, Dane Paterson and Heinrich Klaasen have been omitted from the squad.
Faf du Plessis and his men had been attempting various combinations for the World Cup in the first two ODIs but will wear a more settled look with the return of Steyn and de Kock. Hendricks, meanwhile, is coming into the series on the back of a highly successful Mzansi Super League stint where he picked up a total of 12 wickets.
SARFRAZ IN THE DOCK
South Africa’s win in the second ODI was overshadowed by Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed’s controversial comments towards all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo. The crude comments were picked up by the stump mics towards the end of the game and has landed the Pakistan captain in deep trouble heading into the third ODI.
After the outrage over social media, Sarfraz was forced to issue an apology on Twitter but the troubles for the wicketkeeper batsman are not over yet. The ICC have confirmed that they are looking into the matter and should the Pakistan skipper fall foul of the anti-racism code, he could be docked four to eight demerit points.
That could see Sarfraz being suspended for the remainder of the series. Must be tense moments in the Pakistan camp.
PAKISTAN PONDER SHAN MASOOD INCLUSION
A batting failure at the top was what cost Pakistan dear in the second ODI at Durban with eight wickets falling for just 112 runs. It took a superb half-century from pacer Hasan Ali to help the visitors put up a respectable total but Pakistan will want more from their frontline batsmen come Friday.
After the horror show at Durban, the visitors will be mulling an ODI debut for Shan Masood after his displays in the Test series. Masood ended up as Pakistan’s leading run-scorer in the series on his international recall and he could be brought into the playing XI to provide some solidity to the batting order.
A preferred opening role might be difficult to come for Masood with Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman already present but he could possibly replace Hussain Talat who could muster only two runs on his ODI debut at Durban.
The Windies women will play three T20s against their Pakistan counterparts in Karachi with the first match of the series taking place on January 31.
The series will be the first time that an international women’s team has toured Pakistan since Bangladesh did in September, 2015. The tour comes on the back of the visit of the West Indies men’s team to the country last year.
“The visit of the West Indies women’s team to Karachi is great news not only for Pakistan cricket but for women’s cricket in general. We are thankful to Cricket West Indies (CWI) and their players for trusting the PCB and agreeing to play three T20Is in Karachi,” PCB Chief Operating Officer Subhan Ahmad said.
“The decision of Cricket West Indies endorses our position that Pakistan is as safe and secure as any other country. On behalf of the PCB, I would like to say that we are confident that this tour will go a long way in the complete revival of international cricket in Pakistan.
📰 West Indies women to play three T20Is in Karachi https://t.co/ySnThMS0Tt— PCB Official (@TheRealPCB) January 24, 2019
“The PCB and the CWI have a very long history of collaboration and mutual respect, and this decision further illustrates strong relationship between the two boards. With the West Indies women’s cricket team’s agreement to partake in the three T20Is, the CWI has reiterated their support for a key member of the cricket fraternity in a time when we are working extremely hard to get international cricket back into our backyard.”
Cricket West Indies chief executive Johnny Grave welcomed the development as he reiterated the board’s commitment to helping international cricket return to Pakistan.
“Following the successful hosting of the Windies’ men’s team in Pakistan in April 2018, we have confirmed to the PCB that our Windies women’s squad will now also play a three-match T20I series in Karachi,” he said.
“This tour is a further major step for our friends at the Pakistan Cricket Board to bring their cricket back home, and we are pleased that our players and support staff have recognised this and supported this venture,” Grave added.
The three T20s between the Pakistan and West Indies women’s outfits will take place at the Southend Club in Karachi following which the two teams will move on to the UAE to play a three-match ODI series.
It was a 2018 to remember for Rishabh Pant with the young India wicketkeeper batsman being named as the Emerging Cricketer of the Year in the annual ICC Awards while also finding a place in the Men’s Test outfit of the year.
“He is a real talent and an incredibly good ball striker. He has got a really good game sense as well. He is someone who could play a lot of Test cricket for India across formats. He has got to do a bit of work on his keeping and he will also become a better batsman,” Ponting was quoted as saying by the ICC.
Pant’s debut year in international cricket saw him become the first Indian wicketkeeper to register overseas Test tons in England as well as Australia and Ponting has backed him to surpass veteran MS Dhoni.
“We talk about MS Dhoni all the time and his impact on Indian cricket. He played a lot of Tests for India but made only six Test hundreds,” said Ponting.
“This kid will make a lot more Test hundreds than that. We talk about him in the commentary box and he is sort of like another Adam Gilchrist,” he added.
Pant was among three Indian cricketers to find a place in ICC’s Test Team of the Year which saw Virat Kohli being selected as the skipper. Pacer Jasprit Bumrah was the other India man to find a place in the squad.