In cricket, there are only three instances when the colour Pink dominates. Pink Ball Test, the Sydney Test held every New Year to raise awareness for breast cancer treatment and the Pink ODI which is played in Johannesburg, South Africa. Australia have never lost a Pink Ball Test while before the game against Pakistan, South Africa were invincible in the Pink ODI in Johannesburg. However, their domination was shattered in emphatic fashion as they were thrashed by Pakistan in the fourth ODI by eight wickets. Usman Shinwari’s 4/35 bowled South Africa out for 164 in 41 overs and Pakistan chased the target down in the 32nd over, with Imam-ul-Haq scoring a brilliant 71 to level the series 2-2.
The Pink ODI has provided plenty of wonderful memories for South Africa in the past. Played for the first time in 2013 against Pakistan, they got off to a magnificent start with Hashim Amla (122) and AB de Villiers (128) slamming centuries to boost them to 343/5. The Proteas survived a 68-ball blitz from Shahid Afridi (88) as they won the contest by 34 runs. Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Ryan McLaren picked up three wickets but their figures were ruined by Afridi, who blasted seven sixes and five fours. In the same year, India toured South Africa in December and Quinton de Kock’s magnificent 135 boosted them to 358/4.
McLaren and Steyn picked up three wickets apiece as South Africa continued to dominate. In 2015 against the West Indies, Johannesburg witnessed a spectacular world record in which AB de Villiers smashed a century off just 31 balls. His 149 off 44 balls, which included 12 fours and a record 16 sixes as South Africa reached 439/2, the second-highest score in ODIs. West Indies lost the match by 148 runs as the Proteas secured a hat-trick.
Things got better for them in the 2015 contest against England. Joe Root hit 109 as England reached 262 and South Africa was in trouble at 210/8. However, Chris Morris slammed 62 off 38 and shared a 52-run stand for the ninth wicket with Kyle Abbott and the match was sealed when Imran Tahir hit a boundary to seal a magnificent one-wicket win.
In the game against Sri Lanka, the match was held up for a couple of minutes as a swarm of bees held up a match which South Africa won by seven wickets. In the series against India in 2018, the Pink ODI was the only game which South Africa won as they were hammered 5-1 in the six-match series. Shikhar Dhawan (109) and Virat Kohli (75) boosted India to 289/7 and in a rain-affected second innings, Heinrich Klassen (43) and Andile Phehlukwayo (23) guided them over the line by five wickets.
The fifth and final game will be played in Newlands, Cape Town and Pakistan will be gunning for their second consecutive series win in South Africa.