x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Proteas ready for hard game

South Africa have set their sights on taking a 2-0 lead when they play Pakistan in the second match of the five-game ODI series.

ABU DHABI // South Africa have set their sights on taking a 2-0 lead when they play Pakistan in the second match of the five-game one-day international (ODI) series in Abu Dhabi today.

The Proteas won the two Twenty20 (T20) matches with ease and then romped to a comfortable, eight-wicket victory in the first ODI on Friday. They will meet a Pakistan side shorn of confidence and form again today at the Zayed Cricket Stadium before the teams move to Dubai for three ODIs and the first of two Test matches.

Johan Botha, the South Africa vice-captain, said the team were keen to maintain their unbeaten streak in Abu Dhabi, but refused to entertain talk of a 5-0 whitewash.

"We know Pakistan are a good team and they will come back stronger [today]," said Botha. "We are aware of that and we definitely want to try and make it 2-0 going to Dubai."

South Africa are concerned about the fitness of Graeme Smith, the Test and ODI captain, who received a painful blow on the little finger of his left hand on Friday.

Smith was struck by a Shoaib Akhtar bouncer in the fifth over of the run chase and he was taken to hospital for an X-ray. The scans showed no bone fracture, which was a relief to the powerful left-hander who recently suffered a similar fracture in the same area.

Smith was one of two South Africa batsmen to retire hurt during the match. Jacques Kallis was the other following a bout of cramps.

"As far as Jacques is concerned, from late afternoon [on Friday] he suffered from a viral type of infection, where he developed nausea and dizziness," said Mohammed Moosaje, the team manager. "Obviously when you have an infection, you tend to sweat more, drink less and with a combination of those factors, he started dehydrating [and] he had to be connected to an intravenous line."

arizvi@thenational.ae