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Pak aim to level series against SA

DUBAI: Pakistan is set to include left-arm spinner Abdul Rehman for the fourth One-day International here on Friday as they look to level the five-match series against South Africa at the Dubai Sports City Stadium.

CRICKET ICC RSA PAK PRACTICEOff-break bowler Saeed Ajmal, who has struggled in the series so far, is likely to make way for the Sialkot-based Rehman who enjoys a good one-day record as a bowler besides being a fair batsman in the lower order.

The slow track at the Dubai Stadium is likely to provide some assistance to Rehman since majority of the batsmen from both sides struggled with their shots in the third game which was a low-scoring affair.

With the South Africans leading the series 2-1, Shahid Afridi’s men will have a tough ask of levelling the contest on Friday as the top order batting has struggled throughout the series.

Senior batsman Younis Khan, Shahid Afridi and Imran Farhat will have to play solid knocks to bring Pakistan back into the series while fast bowlers Shoaib Akhtar, Abdul Razzaq and Wahab Riaz must fire on all cylinders to keep the team in the series.

Razzaq’s dazzling hundred on Sunday and Fawad Alam’s half century which brought Pakistan within two runs of victory have definitely revived the spirits in the camp and the players are confident of levelling the series.

On the other hand, the Proteas despite enjoying a lead in the series are somewhat worried about their fielding which has been unable to check Pakistan batsmen in the death overs.

A number of catches went down besides some failed run out attempts during the exciting Fawad-Wahab stand for the eighth wicketon Tuesday and that would certainly be a worry for the South Africans.

Their batting too, apart from Hashim Amla and JP Duminy, looked ordinary in the last game and the Proteas will be hoping for a fit-again Graeme Smith and veteran Jacques Kallis to come good with the bat in this key game to lead them to a match-winning total on Friday.

While the series is blossoming into a really exciting contest between the two sides, the low turnout of fans at Dubai Stadium on Tuesday was quite discouraging for the teams. However, a big crowd is expected in the fourth ODI on Friday which is a weekly holiday in the UAE.

Meanwhile, Dale Steyn’s possible return to the ranks will also be a big boost for the South Africans since he is one of the world’s leading fast bowlers today.

Teams (from):
Pakistan: Asad Shafiq, Mohammad Hafeez, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq, Fawad Alam, Shahid Afridi (captain), Abdul Razzaq, Zulqarnain Haider (wicketkeeper), Umar Gul, Shoaib Akhtar, Saeed Ajmal, Umar Akmal, Imran Farhat, Wahab Riaz, Tanveer Ahmed.

South Africa: Graeme Smith (captain), Hashim Amla, Colin Ingram, A.B. de Villiers (wicketkeeper), Jacques Kallis, Jean-Paul Duminy, David Miller, Johan Botha, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Morney Morkel, Robin Peterson, Charl Langeveldt, Loots Boseman.—APP

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