Death by pink: AB de Villiers is sure to cause more problems for Pakistan in Durban on Thursday. Picture: Gallo Images
After a convincing win over Pakistan that included a world record breaking third wicket partnership between captain AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla, South Africa will be eager to produce a similar sort of performance in the fourth ODI at Sahara Kingsmead Stadium in Durban on Thursday.
A win for De Villiers’ team will seal the five match series 3-1 and render the fifth and last ODI in Benoni on Sunday a dead rubber.
De Villiers piled on 128, a record by a South African against Pakistan, while Amla effortlessly put on 122 to rack up 343/5 and dismissed Pakistan for 309 with 11 balls to spare.
The pair will be buoyed by the fact that at Kingsmead the highest third-wicket partnership is an unbeaten 136 between Pakistan’s Ijaz Ahmed and Salim Malik.
During the Johannesburg victory on Sunday, De Villiers attributed the sensible batting to executing the basics right. And those basics would have to be notched up considering the fact the highest score at Kingsmead in ODIs is 351/4 by Pakistan in 2007 and 329/6 by South Africa two years before.
“It’s the basics that make the difference at the end of the day, so I’m really proud of the partnership and the fact that we took it deep and then set it up nicely for Faf du Plessis and Farhaan Behardien to come in and express themselves,” De Villiers said after the win at the Wanderers.
One other basic that De Villiers is surely aware of is the importance of the toss at Kingsmead.
There have been 37 ODI matches played at this venue with the home team winning on 15 occasions while the visitors have won only nine times. De Villiers will want to win the toss, knowing that in those 37 internationals, 17 were won by teams batting first while the teams chasing have only won on 14 occasions.
If De Villiers betters his 128, he will be the highest scorer on this ground and surpass Brian Lara’s 128.