Who will prevail in decider at Dubai?

Published: Monday, November 8, 2010, 12:38 [IST]
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Who will prevail in decider at Dubai?

An undoubtedly exciting decider between Pakistan and South Africa is on the cards at Dubai. The Proteas may consider themselves unlucky to allow Pakistan back into the series on two occasions, but they will no doubt be raring to go for a win later today. Pakistan were in the exact same position in their last one-day series, against England in the summer. But on that occasion, they were unable to pull off a victory to seal the series, despite the fact that the side had fought back from 2-0 to draw level.

Will history repeat itself, or will Pakistan be able to pin the South Africans down and run away with the series? There is no saying whether Pakistan will prosper or implode, as they have shown that they are capable of going either way. South Africa on the other hand, will have its consistency to fall back on. But with the morale high in the Pakistani camp, South Africa will have to be on top its game to keep its nose in front.

The Proteas will have to prevent themselves from choking in crunch situations and their fielding, especially will have to be top notch right up to the last ball. South Africa started the series as the more favoured team to win, but they have fallen in stature since their Twenty-20 rout of Pakistan as a result of some brilliant performances from the opposition. In this ultimate match, can Pakistan oversome its inconsistency and indiscipline and with just 100 days left for the World Cup, can South Africa show that they are World Champion worthy?

Younis Khan's return has brought stability to an ever-brittle Pakistani middle-order. His patience and experience in the middle-overs will bode well for Pakistan in this final match. A good performance from him will be of crucial importance. For the Proteas, Graeme Smith stands as one of their key-men. He had notched up an average of over 41 against Pakistan and will need every single one of those runs and more for his side in today's match. He is the type of captain that is accustomed to leading from the front, having already scored a brisk 92 in Friday's match.

An area of concern for South Africa will be their pace bowling, with Lonwabo Tsotsobe suffering from back spasms and Wayne Parnell conceding more than he should be with 53 runs given away in 9 over in Friday's game. Will Rusty Theron come to fore? Pakistan's bowling had greatly improved through the series with the off-spinners putting a check on the run-flow in the middle over and Shoaib Akhtar capable of unsettling the top order.

The pitch at Dubai gives slow, low bounce which will be conducive for the spinners and might also offer something for the pace bowlers. However, that didn't deter a high-scoring match taking place on Friday, so there's no telling whether the batsmen have indeed adapted to the wicket or not. The die is cast for an intriguing final encounter in the series. Will South Africa be able to do justice to their phenomenal track record as winners, or will Pakistan pull off an upset to run home with the series

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