South Africa v Pakistan LIVE: Imam-ul-Haq inches toward ton at Centurion

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Imam-ul-Haq is looking good for Pakistan.

Pakistan bat first in the third ODI against South Africa at the Centurion after skipper Sarfraz Ahmed won the toss.

Debutant Beuran Hendricks struck with only his seventh delivery in international cricket to dismiss Fakhar Zaman early. Babar Azam and Imam-ul-Haq then settled the nerves with a promising stand before the former fell for 69 to Dale Steyn.

The visitors have made two changes to their playing XI with pacer Mohammad Amir and spinner Imad Wasim returning to the side. The hosts, meanwhile, have handed pacer Beuran Hendricks an ODI debut while Dale Steyn and Quinton de Kock return.

The two teams are locked at 1-1 in the five-match series after South Africa cancelled out Pakistan’s win in the opener with a five-wicket victory in the second ODI at Durban.

Who will get their noses in front in the series? Do not miss any of the action from Centurion by following our ball-by-ball coverage below.

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Ambati Rayudu under scanner for India as Kiwis search for answers ahead of second ODI

Ashish Peter 25/01/2019
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Ambati Rayudu.

After their crushing win over the hosts in the series opener, India will lock horns with New Zealand once again on Saturday in the second ODI at Mount Maunganui.

In a clash which will be held on India’s Republic Day, the hosts will have it all to do to get themselves back into contention in the five-match series.

Ahead of the second ODI, we take a look at the key talking points.

PANDYA BACK FOR INDIA BUT UNLIKELY FOR SECOND ODI

After being sent home from the tour of Australia without playing an ODI for his controversial remarks on a television show, Hardik Pandya is back in the squad after the interim suspension against him was lifted by the BCCI on Thursday.

The India all-rounder has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons but there is no doubt that he will be key for India in the World Cup. Given how long they have been trying to groom his for the all-rounder’s role, the team management will be desperate to get Pandya back into the thick of things quickly.

However, Saturday’s clash might have come a little too soon for Pandya.

While Pandya is expected to arrive on New Zealand shores at the earliest, Vijay Shankar looks likely to keep the all-rounder’s slot for the second ODI.

Pandya will likely have to wait for the third ODI.

Pandya will likely have to wait for the third ODI.

HOSTS SEARCH FOR ANSWERS TO WRIST-SPIN

New Zealand were in imperious form coming into the series with their 3-0 whitewash over Sri Lanka, but that all counted for nothing as they were bowled out for just 157 by India at Napier.

The batting which was looking so strong came up a cropper with India’s wrist-spinners in Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal running rampant. A total of seven New Zealand wickets fell to spin and that will be one of the key issues that skipper Kane Williamson will be looking to rectify in the second ODI.

Even part-time spinner Kedar Jadhav managed to look a threat against the Kiwis at Napier and that does not bode well for the hosts given the pitch had hardly any assistance for the spinners.

It will be up to Williamson and the likes of Ross Taylor to raise their games on Saturday given they are the best players of spin in the Kiwi side.

New Zealand looked poor against the wrist-spinners in Napier.

New Zealand looked poor against the wrist-spinners in Napier.

RAYUDU UNDER THE MICROSCOPE FOR INDIA

Virat Kohli and India have been trying to shoehorn Ambati Rayudu in the number-four spot in the batting order in the run up to the 2019 World Cup in England but doubts have now started to creep in.

Rayudu gave a good account of himself in India’s Asia Cup triumph and looked the part in India’s home series against the West Indies. However, he was extremely poor on the tour of Australia where he was dropped for the series decider after his performances in the first and second ODI.

To add insult to injury, he was also reported for a suspect action by the match officials. In the first ODI against the Kiwis, the right-hander looked extremely rusty as he struggled to generate any timing on the ball.

With young Shubman Gill waiting in the wings for India, time is running out for Rayudu and he will need a big performance soon to keep his spot for the World Cup.

Rayudu needs to find form fast before being axed.

Rayudu needs to find form fast before being axed.

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Imran Haider and Amir Hayat star as UAE edge Nepal in low-scoring first ODI

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The hosts go 1-0 up in Dubai. Image - @EmiratesCricket/Twitter.

Hosts UAE recorded a three-wicket victory over Nepal in a low-scoring encounter in the first ODI between the two sides held at Dubai on Friday.

Skipper Mohammad Naveed gave UAE the perfect start with the ball after the hosts elected to field first at the ICC Academy.

Naveed dismissed Nepal opener Gyanendra Malla for a duck in the very first over of the match before dismissing his partner Binod Bhandari in the seventh over.

Nepal skipper Paras Khadka and Sompal Kami tried to resurrect the innings but the visitors were unable to recover after the early blows.

Leg-spinner Imran Haider and medium pacer Amir Hayat shared five wickets between themselves as Nepal’s batting continued to slide.

In reply, UAE’s innings started in similar fashion to Nepal’s with openers Chirag Suri and Ashfaq Ahmed falling cheaply. Wicketkeeper batsman Ghulam Shabber top-scored for the hosts and was looking good on 30 before he became the first victim of star Nepal leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane.

Lamichhane also dismissed Fahad Nawaz while Khadka removed Muhammad Usman and Mohammad Boota in quick succession as UAE’s middle-order collapsed dramatically.

From a precarious position of 73-7, Haider and Hayat formed an unbeaten stand of 43 to guide the UAE home in the chase.

The pair backed up their excellent work with the ball with a fine partnership under pressure to hand UAE a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

The second ODI between the two sides will also take place at the ICC Academy on Saturday.

BRIEF SCORES

Nepal: 113 all out (33.5 overs)

Mohammad Naveed: 3/31 (nine overs)

Amir Hayat: 3/19 (7.5 overs)

UAE: 116-7 (32.1 overs)

Ghulam Shabber: 30 (48)

Sandeep Lamichhane: 2/34 (9.1 overs)

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