Pakistan and South Africa will trade their cricketing whites for some colourful clothing as the first of five ODI games begins on Wednesday. With the Test series drawn and the wave of ball tampering still hanging about like a puff of dust, teams switch gears for something a little bit more fast-paced.
What: South Africa vs. Pakistan, First ODI
Where: Sharjah Cricket Stadium
When: Monday, 30 Oct. 2013, 11:00 a.m. BST
Live Stream/TV info: PTV Sport
Weather: According to the BBC's forecast, there's no chance of rain in the UAE, and instead, teams should expect blazing hot sun with temperatures of up to 32 degrees Celsius, cooling to around 28 in the evening.
South Africa will be without Dale Steyn for the first two ODIs against Pakistan as they continue to manage their pace ace ahead of their summer season at home. Steyn will be rested, and it's up to Morne Morkel and Lonwabo Tsotsobe to lead the attack.
Bowling isn't really where South Africa has struggled lately. Having won just seven of their 18 one-day internationals in the last year, their problem has sat very much with the batting. In those 18 games, the batsmen have failed to bat out an innings eight times.
To bolster their batting, Graeme Smith returns after a long lay off from injury, but Hashim Amla's participation is still uncertain. With his wife due to give birth, but not having gone into labour yet, Amla could be sent on his merry way shortly. Colin Ingram, who has been in blistering form in the domestic one-day competition, is on standby should that be the case.
Pakistan have won 11 of their 22 ODIs in the last year, but haven't managed a score of over 300 since March 2013. Their batsmen have failed to bat out an inning in the last four consecutive games, and with South Africa's bowlers being as cunning as they are, the Proteas might be quietly confident that they have an edge.
The first game is going to be tough encounter though, and very hard work for the bowlers in a pitch which is expected to offer them diddly squat. On the bright side, at least it might get South Africa's batting confidence up.
Mohammad Irfan has proved that he's figured out how to use his height to his advantage and get some extra pace and bounce from it. Although he does struggle with long spells and Pakistan might be looking to give their gentle giant a break, if he plays, he'll be a menace.
AB de Villiers is one of the most destructive and talented batsmen in world cricket at the moment. Although he worms his way into the middle order, he'll be key in settling down for a solid partnership during that phase of the game. What's better is that the surface is ideal for him to do just that.
Ahmed Shehzad, Nasir Jamshed, Mohammad Hafeez, Misbah-Ul-Haq (c), Umar Amin, Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman, Mohammad Irfan, Junaid Khan, Sohail Tanvir, Wahab Riaz, Sohaib Maqsood, Asad Shafiq, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk).
AB de Villiers (c/wk), Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock (wk), Jean-Paul Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, Ryan McLaren, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Robin Peterson, Vernon Philander, Graeme Smith, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.