Pakistan: The tourists were the favorites in the final ODI, thanks to their form as well as the fact that South Africa were significantly weakened due to a number of their players having left to play the Indian Premier League.
It’s a known fact about Pakistan that the shorter the format is, the better they become. Thus, don’t be surprised if they win this series as well, or even better, secure a whitewash.
Their batting, which clicked in all three ODIs, a rarity for Pakistan on away tours, will be further bolstered by the addition of hard-hitting Sharjeel Khan and the super experienced Mohammad Hafeez.
In bowling they will be without two expert pacers: Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Amir. The former was not picked for the tour, while the latter has retired.
But the batting additions are significant enough to say that Pakistan’s T20I roster is even more formidable than the ODI unit that defeated South Africa.
South Africa: On the other hand, things go from bad to worse for South Africa. Already thin on numbers due to their five IPL-bound a-listers, their captain Tenda Bavuma picked up a hamstring injury in the final ODI.
The newly appointed skipper is still in the squad and has not been officially ruled out but it will be touch and go for him.
Bavuma joins Rassie van der Dussen in the treatment room, having reported a quad strain hours before the 3rd ODI and is now set to be out of action until April 15, according to Proteas coach Mark Boucher. If that happens, he will get to feature in only the last match of the series. Van der Dussen’s is an even bigger setback as he was batting beautifully and finished as South Africa’s highest scorer in the series despite missing the final match.
All things considered, Pakistan have a definitive edge on paper.