ODI series preview: South Africa v Pakistan

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The next week will see South Africa and Pakistan contest what feels like the billionth set of fixtures between the sides in recent weeks, as the visitors look to avenge the four-one ODI series loss they suffered in the UAE.

The next week will see South Africa and Pakistan contest what feels like the billionth set of fixtures between the sides in recent weeks, as the visitors look to avenge the four-one ODI series loss they suffered in the UAE.

That was earlier this month, and three fixtures will take place in six days in South Africa, just days after Pakistan won the second T20 to level that series. That game was played in Cape Town, and they will hope that fortune stays with them for the first ODI at Newlands.

For the hosts, they welcome back veteran all-rounder Jacques Kallis, who also happens to be the top SA run-getter against Pakistan, with more than 1200 runs. Though, he last played an ODI in February last year, and last faced Pakistan in this format in 2010.

Also back is Test skipper Graeme Smith, who missed the UAE series due to post-concussion syndrome after being struck on the head with a bouncer during the Test series.

What Biff's return means for Quinton de Kock remains to be seen, though the young opener will feel hard done by if he's dropped, considering his excellent run of form against Pakistan in recent weeks.

Speaking of being dropped, spinner Robin Peterson and T20 skipper Faf du Plessis have been left out, with Imran Tahir is great form with the ball and Du Plessis failing to score meaningful runs in his last 20 knocks.

For Pakistan, they lost two of their most experienced players before the tour even began, with Shoaib Malik and Abdul Razzak, both with many games against the Proteas under their belts, ruled out through injury.

Added to the loss of fast bowler Mohammad Irfan due to a hip injury, this left Pakistan with just 13 players to choose from as replacements could not be flown in. Now though, Misbah returns to the squad, bolstering the batting.

The last time the sides met in an ODI series in SA, earlier this year, the Proteas won three-two. Pakistan last won an ODI series against SA in 1990, but have never won one in South Africa.

<b>Key Men</b><br>South Africa skipper <b>AB de Villiers</b> is the vital cog in the batting machine against Pakistan, as he averages over 60 against them in ODIs and is behind only Jacques Kallis in terms of runs scored against them.

For Pakistan, it's still <b>Misbah-ul-Haq</b> as the key man, given until a few days ago when India's Rohit Sharma took over, he was the top run-getter in ODIs this year. If he fails, the visitors will have a tough time.

<b>Last Five Head-To-Head Results</b><br>2013, Fifth ODI: South Africa won by 117 runs in Sharjah<br>2013, Fourth ODI: South Africa won by 28 runs in Abu Dhabi<br>2013, Third ODI: South Africa won by 68 runs in Abu Dhabi<br>2013, Second ODI: Pakistan won by 66 runs in Dubai<br>2013, First ODI: South Africa won by one run in Sharjah

<b>Prediction</b><br>Pakistan will carry their momentum from the T20 series into the one-dayers, and will take the first ODI in cape Town by a narrow margin. This will light a fire under the hosts, who will come back strongly and win the next two games and take the series.

<b>Squads</b><br><i>South Africa:</i> AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy, Imran Tahir, Jacques Kallis, Ryan McLaren, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Vernon Philander, Graeme Smith, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.

<i>Pakistan:</i> Misbah-ul-Haq, Mohammad Hafeez, Ahmed Shehzad, Umar Akmal (wk), Umar Amin, Shahid Afridi, Sohaib Maqsood, Sohail Tanvir, Anwar Ali, Junaid Khan, Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman, Nasir Jamshed, Asad Shafiq, Bilawal Bhatti

<b>Fixtures</b><br>First ODI: 24 November, Cape Town<br>Second ODI: 27 November in Port Elizabeth<br>Third ODI: 30 November in Centurion

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