Pakistan target first one-day series win since 2008

Dubai: Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi says his team are determined to record their first limited-overs series win since 2008 by beating South Africa in the fifth one-day international on Monday.

Pakistan have twice come from behind to level the five-match series at 2-2 and set up an intriguing final match in Dubai, and Afridi said he wants further improvement from his team.

Victory would give Pakistan their first ever one-day series win over South Africa, but Afridi’s men have had a dismal run of late.

Pakistan have lost their last six one-day series since beating the West Indies 3-0 in Abu Dhabi two years ago, with defeats to Sri Lanka twice, Australia twice and New Zealand and England once each.

“I know we have never beaten South Africa in a bilateral one-day series, so that is very much the aim to achieve and the boys are determined to win this final match,” Afridi said.

South Africa won the first match of the current series by eight wickets before Pakistan levelled with a one-wicket win -- with both matches played in Abu Dhabi.

The third match was again won by South Africa by two runs, but Pakistan levelled with a one-wicket win in the fourth match -- both played in Dubai.

Afridi said the series has been close and if his team can capitalise on strong positions, they can achieve the objective.

“This series is a very close affair, so we need to take all our chances and if we do then we will win the series, which will be a very good achievement considering our recent record,” said Afridi.

South African coach Corrie van Zyl was optimistic about his team’s chances.

“We obviously want to win the series, but you also want to see what players are available before the World Cup because this is our last chance to play on sub-continent type of pitches here,” van Zyl said.

India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh jointly host the World Cup from February 19 to April 2 next year.

Van Zyl, who took over early this year following the departure of Mickey Arthur, said a problem with lanky paceman Lonwabo Tsotsobe’s fitness was a concern.

“Injury to Lonwabo is a concern but Rusty (Theron) stepped in and did well, but we hope we are in a position to field our strongest combination and everyone bowl to his potential,” van Zyl said.