ICL: Indian Cricket League

Hosts aim to seal series


Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik said on Thursday that paceman Mohammad Asif and spinner Abdul Rehman will undergo a fitness test on Friday (today) before the match to see if they were ready to join the team for the fourth One-day International (ODI) against South Africa.

Rehman had experienced a groin problem in the third ODI while Mohammad Asif had to miss the first three ODIs due to an elbow injury to his bowling hand.

Malik said that his team was looking forward to score a victory in the fourth ODI to seal the series 3-1. “Morale of the boys is up and they will make all out efforts to win the series decider in Multan,” said Malik. “The way we are performing will lead us to a series victory.”

Meanwhile, South African coach Micky Arthur said the match was a do or die situation for his team. “We really want to go home with the ODI series as well,” he told reporters. “It’s a final for us, a do or die game. We’ve set our team big goals on this trip and we’ve ticked the box in terms of the Test (matches).”

South Africa have lost successive matches to a rejuvenated Pakistan. The visitors struggled to form strong partnerships in the middle overs of the past two games. Experienced batsman Jacques Kallis, who scored 421 runs in two Tests, has made only 21 runs in the one-day series so far.

“Hats off to Pakistan for bowling well in the middle overs and that’s where they have won the games,” Arthur said. “Jacques is a fantastic player, we are backing him to come out and score on Friday,” he added.

South Africa have struggled to cope with Pakistan spinners on slow wickets at Lahore and Faisalabad. Captain Graeme Smith is the top-scorer for them in the last two matches — but his dogged 65 off 96 balls in the second game came only after three dropped chances.

“It’s up to us to counter the pitches,” Arthur said. “They (Pakistan) realised their strengths were in the spin department and it was one area they felt they could take advantage of. They’ve prepared wickets according to that,” he added.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has shifted the fifth and final one-dayer (Oct 29) from Karachi to Lahore after South Africa expressed security concerns following a suicide bombing that killed at least 139 people in the port city last Thursday.

“It has not distracted the players at all. Pakistan played better than we have in the last two games,” Arthur said. “That’s (security) been dealt with really well by the management. Players and myself are really satisfied that the correct procedures were followed,” he added.

Source:Cricket News

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