Bismah Maroof in action for Pakistan. ©ICC

After two games at Potchefstroom, the third and final ODI of Pakistan’s tour of South Africa will take place at Benoni. Currently, the series is leveled at 1-1. The tourists won the first match, while the hosts claimed the second one.

With two ICC Women’s Championship points at stake in the final encounter, Pakistan’s skipper Bismah Maroof acknowledges the importance of the match. “The girls are ready for the challenge that the third game offers, we know the importance of these two points, we will try our best to win the match and win the series,” she said.

If Pakistan do indeed win the series, their points tally for the ICCWC will equal 16. This would take them past South Africa- who currently have 15 points- to the fifth spot on the table. It would also be another historic win for the side, backing up their win against West Indies, as they are yet to claim an ODI series victory against these opponents.

After two fairly one-sided encounters, the decider could prove to be an exciting one. Pakistan won the series opener by eight wickets and their largest margin in terms of balls remaining, as they bowled out South Africa for just 63 runs. The bowling unit excelled in that match. In the following one, South Africa triumphed by the same margin. This time Pakistan were unable to build on a solid start with the bat to put a competitive total on the board, though the top order showed promise. The team has realised their mistakes though, with Maroof reflecting on the previous games, “In the first match our bowling dominated, second match we started very well with the bat but could not capitalise on the start we got.”

If they can put in a flawless all-round performance, the hosts might be in trouble as gaps in their batting order have also been exposed.

Despite the one-sided results of the previous matches though, if both teams can learn from their shortcomings, we may be in for a thrilling series finale. Maroof expressed the same sentiments saying, “It is 1-1 right now, third match should be an exciting one. Both teams know the value of the third game and I think we will see a real close game since a lot depends on the result.”

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