I would never bet on a debutant. I would add him in my fantasy team in case I run out of credit points but would neither make him my captain nor vice-captain. What are the odds that he or she will shine in first match? None. Mayank Agarwal proved me wrong during the 2018-19 Border-Gavaskar trophy and it’s been Rassie van der Dussen who has taking everyone by surprise. In his first two ODIs he has scores of 93 and 80*. I cannot predict if he can emulate these innings in the third ODI at Centurion, but the way he has batting, it looks like he can weather any storm.
Let’s dish out the best XI for our fantasy cricket team.
My XI: Quinton de Kock (wk), Imam-ul-Haq, Hashim Amla, Rassie van der Dussen (c), Mohammad Hafeez, Andile Phehlukwayo, Shadab Khan (vc), Shaheen Afridi, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Duanne Olivier
Runs have been difficult to score thus far, given the quality of bowling attack both teams boast of. We have opted for three batters, two all-rounders, and as many as five bowlers.
De Kock is back and so is South Africa’s hope to score more runs at the top. This means that Klaasen is likely to be benched.
I also have an option in Sarfraz Ahmed, but his dip in form and the racial comment during the second ODI will soon push him to the doorstep of problems.
Imam-ul-Haq fell prey to a well-directed short delivery from Rabada in the second ODI. Otherwise, the seam movement didn’t trouble him. Pakistan would want him to repeat his performance from the first ODI, that it was his 80 runs that set up a foundation for victory.
We have alternatives in Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, and Shoaib Malik, but none of the Pakistani batters have looked as promising as Imam-ul-Haq.
My remaining two batters are from the home team: Amla and van der Dussen.
With de Kock at the other hand, Amla will be more relaxed. It will give him more time to get into his elements. With him, a hundred is always on the cards.
We have already spoken about van der Dussen at length. Don’t hesitate to make him your captain.
Hafeez has had two contrasting performances: he scored 71* in a tough chase, followed by 9 when his team needed him to bat longer. However, he remains the vital cog in the wheel for Pakistan. His all-round abilities help fantasy players collect extra points.
Phehlukwayo said that his performance in the second ODI was the best of his career. He pocketed 2 catches, 2 wickets, and 69 runs. We have to agree with him.
Of the 7 wickets Pakistan have taken in two ODIs, 6 belong to Shadab Khan and Shaheen Afridi. Both have a tendency to run through batting line-ups.
Dale Steyn is back too, but this is a different format. To make matters more interesting, we have to choose between Rabada, Olivier, and Steyn. Rabada has never been out of form and Olivier likes to feed on the Pakistani batters.
Always invest in wrist-spinners if you want bonus points. It was Shamsi’s bowling that wrapped up the Pakistani’s lower order and fetched us points.
Here are the probable XIs for both teams in case you want to explore more options.
Probable XI for South Africa: Quinton de Kock, Hashim Amla, Rassie van de Dussen, Faf du Plessis (c), David Miller, Reeza Hendricks, Henrich Klaasen, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Dane Paterson/Dale Steyn, Tabraiz Shamsi, Duanne Olivier
Probable XI for Pakistan: Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Hussain Talat/Shaan Masood, Sarfraz Ahmed (c), Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf/Imad Wasim, Hasan Ali, Shaheed Afridi