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South Africa vs Pakistan 1st ODI Predictions & Tips - Classy Babar Azam can help Pakistan upset the odds

  • South Africa vs Pakistan predictions for Friday’s 1st ODI cricket match
  • The fixture will be played at Centurion at 09:00am BST
  • Babar Azam averages over 55 in ODI cricket in 77 matches
  • I am tipping Pakistan to cause an upset in the 1st ODI in Pretoria
  • Predictions, stats, team news & preview
Babar Azam ODI cricket
Babar Azam averages over 55 runs per innings in ODI cricket (Getty Images)
Ralph Staniforth 01 Apr 2021
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South Africa vs Pakistan Predictions

South Africa has undergone much change over the last year which may make them vulnerable in this series. My best bet is for Pakistan to win the 1st ODI and extend their nine-match unbeaten run.

  • South Africa’s Heinrich Klaasen has scored 123, 51 & 68 runs in his last 3 ODI matches.
  • Pakistan’s Babar Azam has scored 77 & 125 runs in his last 2 ODI matches.
  • Pakistan’s Babar Azam has been the team top run scorer in their last 2 ODI matches.
  • Pakistan’s Babar Azam averages 55.93 in ODI cricket.
  • Pakistan are unbeaten in their last 9 ODI matches.

Head to Head

South Africa have won three of their last five ODIs against Pakistan. Their last match took place at Lord’s in the 2019 Cricket World Cup where Pakistan won by 49 runs.

South Africa Form

This will be South Africa’s first ODI match since March 2020 when they faced Australia in a three-match series at home. The hosts put in some superb performances to win that series 3-0.

Heinrich Klaasen was the star of that series with scores of 123, 51 and 68* in the three matches. There were also a number of young players who stood up with JJ Smuts scoring 84 runs in the 3rd ODI and Janneman Malan 123 in the 2nd ODI.

Unfortunately neither Malan nor Smuts have managed to continue that form since on the domestic scene while Klaasen has managed to keep his form up.

South Africa Injuries & Team News

Temba Bavuma will take charge of his first match as captain after taking over from Quinton de Kock. That should release De Kock to play his natural game with captaincy never really suited to him.

There are a few newcomers to the Proteas squad. Daryn Dupavillon, Sisanda Magala and Lizaad Williams will all hope to get an opportunity during this series.

Pakistan Form

Pakistan have only played three ODI fixtures since COVID-19 struck early in 2020. They won two and drew one in a three-match series against Zimbabwe in November 2020.

Pakistan have arrived in South Africa unbeaten in their last nine ODI matches. That will give them confidence in a country they have seldom performed well.

Babar Azam is one of the premier batsmen in the world and he arrives in good form. Against Zimbabwe, the middle-order batsmen scored 77 and 125 runs in the last two ODIs. 

All eyes will be on him during this series and if Pakistan are to get anything from the series, Azam is likely to be at the centre of it.

Pakistan Injuries & Team News

Babar Azam will lead a full strength Pakistan side in the 1st ODI. There are a few Pakistan players who will be looking to make an impression after struggling in recent times.

That includes explosive opening batsman, Fakhar Zaman and the talented Haider Ali. In the bowling department, Shaheen Afridi has proven himself to be a world class performer while Hasan Ali will offer plenty of experience.

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Pakistan have won eight of their last nine ODIs with one draw. I'm backing them to win the 1st ODI against an inexperienced South African side. Babar Azam is backed to top score for the visitors and win the man of the match award.

Heinrich Klaasen has hit 50+ runs in his last three ODIs. He is great value to be South Africa's top scorer.

Best Bet: Pakistan Win Result @150.00 at BetMGM - 3 Units
Best Pakistan Batsman Tip: Babar Azam Best Pakistan Batsman @187.00 at bet365 Sport NJ - 1 Unit
Best South Africa Batsman Tip: Heinrich Klaasen Best South Africa Batsman @550.00 at Borgata Sports - 1 Unit
Man of the Match Tip: Babar Azam Man of the Match @800.00 at 888sport - 1 Unit

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