Skipper Faf du Plessis expects more consistency from South Africa
Despite a win in the previous game, Faf du Plessis admitted South Africa were not quite up to the mark in few departments. (AFP Image)

Faf du Plessis admitted South Africa have a lot of room for improvement and pointed out that they were not up to the mark in the first two ODIs against Pakistan. South Africa lost the first ODI at Port Elizabeth by six wickets before bouncing back in the second game and thumping the opposition by nine wickets at Durban. However, despite the victory, du Plessis would like more consistency with both bat and ball.

“We have been a bit rusty in both the batting and bowling departments. We haven’t put in a performance as close to the one we played in the last ODI in Australia,” the skipper admitted ahead of the third ODI on Thursday.

“The injuries do take you back, taking Quinton, Dale and Lungi (Ngidi) out of your team means you are not playing your best team. For me that is okay, the guys who are playing in their spots will be guys who will make up the 15 going to the World Cup. It has been a blessing in disguise that we can look at more players.”

South Africa were without Dale Steyn and Quinton de Kock in the opening two matches which paved the way for Rassie van der Dussen, who seized the opportunity and scored a 93 and an unbeaten 80. What augurs even better for South Africa is that Steyn and de Kock are back for the third ODI and so is left-arm fast bowler Beuran Hendricks.

As the selectors look to finalise the squad for the World Cup, Hendricks has a chance to impress them and join the likes of Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi and Steyn in boarding the flight to England.

“Those three will go and they will play,” Du Plessis said of Rabada, Steyn and Ngidi. “We need one more fast bowler. We are trying to think ahead in case someone gets injured. The three of them are all bowlers that can take wickets. We feel with the balance of the side and going with our strongest XI, having that x-factor bowler (as a reserve) in our bowling attack is key.”

Du Plessis expects the deck at Centurion to assist more pace and bounce. The venue for the third ODI has traditionally assisted fast bowlers, who have accounted for almost 70 percent wickets to fall at the ground.

“Centurion and Wanderers should give you that bit of extra bounce,” said du Plessis. “The first two wickets were slower and in the bigger picture you want to test yourself in case you get a slow wicket in the World Cup. Looking ahead it will be a good for us (to play on slow wickets) but from a home point of view you always want something with a bit of pace and bounce.”