The five-match one-day international cricket series between Pakistan and South Africa, deadlocked at 2-2, goes down to the wire this afternoon in the finale in Cape Town.
While not a complete disaster, the last two weeks have certainly not gone according to script for the Proteas. After thumping the tourists 3-0 in the preceding Test series, they were hoping to use the limited-overs matches to nudge closer to finalising their one-day squad for this year’s World Cup in England, yet probably have more questions than answers heading into the fifth one-day international today.
Proteas captain Faf du Plessis has admitted the visitors have been more consistent than his side in the series. The form of some senior players is a huge concern, while team management must be frustrated with certain combinations and the failure of some fringe players to stake a claim for higher honours.
Today marks exactly four months to South Africa’s opening match of the World Cup against hosts England at The Oval. Other than the usual warm-up matches on the eve of the tournament, they only have five one-day internationals against Sri Lanka next month. The time for experimentation is almost over.
Let’s hope the Proteas can finally deliver an all-round performance at Newlands today. It will go a long way in allaying the doubts – for captain, coach and the fans.