Red-hot South Africa look to interrupt 24-year jinx towards teetering Pakistan

Big Picture – Can Pakistan get again on monitor?

As one marketing campaign unravels, one other gathers full steam. It’s a well-recognized theme for Pakistan and South Africa throughout a lot of ICC match historical past. While South Africa have typically regarded among the many most formidable sides within the early levels of those tournaments, Pakistan stutter and stall till they’ve left themselves with no margin for error, after which they roar into life. This fixture, timed to coincide with that time of crossroads within the World Cup group levels, offers that narrative the additional thrust for South Africa to be that little bit warier, and Pakistan barely extra optimistic.

But South Africa wish to make historical past at this World Cup, whereas Pakistan are at risk of being consigned to it. The ferocious brilliance of South Africa has mixed with medical effectiveness, lending that facet a metal and ruthlessness they’ve typically been accused of missing. The crew would possibly at all times look a batter gentle with Marco Jansen in at seven, however with almost the entire prime six in such glistening kind, no facet bar Netherlands have been capable of burrow their method deeper into that line-up till explosive injury has already been accomplished.

South Africa will nonetheless take a look at their bowling and conclude there’s room for enchancment, uncommon for a facet the place not a single bowler has ended up wicketless in any of their 5 video games so far. Though each the tempo battery and the spin assault have had few issues blowing prime orders out, eliminating the decrease order has proved troublesome in almost each sport. While the batters have provided sufficient cowl for Temba Bavuma’s facet to not overly concern themselves, it was arguably accountable for their solely defeat, a freak loss towards Netherlands once they had been allowed to get to 245 for 8 after shedding their seventh wicket at 140.

Compared to Pakistan, although, these are cricket’s variations of first-world issues. Pakistan have barely higher worries than complaints that they solely beat the defending champions by 229 moderately than the 300 runs that they wished. After a shaky begin to the match that also noticed them submit two wins in two, Pakistan have now misplaced three video games on the bounce, the final one a chastening eight-wicket trouncing at Afghanistan’s arms. For a facet that prides itself on the lethality of its tempo assault, that division has regarded virtually traditionally toothless, with every of Sri Lanka, India, Australia and Afghanistan placing them to the sword.

While the batting has, at instances, fared higher, the highest order which shaped the core of their run-scoring ballast is now a shell of its former self. Abdullah Shafique has produced some substance to go along with his type, however with Fakhar Zaman injured and Babar Azam having misplaced that just about mechanical trait of relentless accumulation, the center order has been uncovered to a higher diploma than it’s ready for. Shadab Khan’s woeful kind with the ball has led to questions on his place within the facet and messed with the batting order, too, and towards Australia it successfully stripped them of an additional batter. Add to that the stress of each sport being a knockout, and historical past, moderately than high quality, seems more and more like the one cause Pakistan might need additional hopes of progressing.

The PCB itself seems to see the writing on the wall by issuing a weird assertion urging followers to proceed to assist the crew. Somewhat cynically, it indulged in a bit of self-preservation of its personal, firmly pointing the finger at under-fire captain Babar and chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq for choosing the crew.

While ignominy probably awaits Pakistan, South Africa eye glory. The two sides in resplendent inexperienced couldn’t look extra totally different from one another at current.

Form information

Pakistan LLLWW (final 5 accomplished matches, most up-to-date first)
South Africa WWLWW

In the highlight – Babar Azam and Marco Jansen

Devoid of kind – by his excessive requirements – criticised for his captaincy, seemingly shunned by his personal board, Pakistan’s finest batter in a era finds himself at his lowest level. Babar Azam leads a crew that appears prefer it’s coming into its dying spiral. But in the meanwhile, Pakistan are alive, and in across the similar kind of territory they discovered themselves in when he delivered his most celebrated innings but: that century towards New Zealand in 2019. Against an assault that is prone to bother most of his team-mates, Pakistan’s destiny is tied virtually inevitably to Babar’s batting kind. If he can ship a knock of comparable worth because the one towards New Zealand 4 years in the past, few shall be considering trying additional up his arms to see if that armband’s nonetheless on.

When everybody is aware of – as they do about Imam-ul-Haq – you have bought an issue towards the brief ball, dealing with 209cm Marco Jansen doesn’t fill you with pleasure. A cheat code of a cricketer, the final word two-in-one participant has had a glowing World Cup, taking two wickets in every of his 5 video games whereas holding the economic system fee beneath examine. His capability to swing the brand new ball and get additional bounce at will belie the excessive tempo and consistency of his bowling, and Pakistan are low on confidence with the bat. If all that wasn’t sufficient, Jansen is among the many most deadly lower-order hitters on the dying, as his mullering of England will bear witness to.

Team news – Bavuma, Fakhar set to return

Fakhar Zaman has been handed match, and if he does play, Imam-ul-Haq is likeliest to make method. Perhaps extra importantly, Hasan Ali has been dominated out with fever, seemingly placing Mohammad Wasim Jnr in competition.

Pakistan: (seemingly) 1 Abdullah Shafique, 2 Imam-ul-Haq/Fakhar Zaman, 3 Babar Azam (capt), 4 Mohammad Rizwan (wk), 5 Saud Shakeel, 6 Iftikhar Ahmed, 7 Shadab Khan, 8 Usama Mir, 9 Mohammad Wasim Jnr, 10 Shaheen Shah Afridi, 11 Haris Rauf

South Africa’s most important conundrum surrounded what to do about captain Temba Bavuma, with Reeza Hendricks doing a stellar job as alternative throughout his enforced absence. But Bavuma will come again in and lead the facet, and South Africa have additionally opted for additional spin, with Keshav Maharaj changing Gerald Coetzee.

South Africa: (seemingly) 1 Temba Bavuma (capt), 2 Quinton de Kock (wk), 3 Rassie van der Dussen, 4 Aiden Markram, 5 Heinrich Klaasen, 6 David Miller, 7 Marco Jansen, 8 Keshav Maharaj, 9 Tabraiz Shamsi, 10 Kagiso Rabada, 11 Lungi Ngidi/Lizaad Williams

Pitch and circumstances

The pitch would be the similar because the one used for the Bangladesh-New Zealand sport a fortnight in the past, which implies it’s going to be a bit faster than the standard Chennai floor. There’s a slight probability of a passing bathe, although a full sport is probably going.

Stats and trivia

  • Hasan Ali and Shaheen Shah Afridi are one and 4 wickets away respectively from changing into the twenty first and twenty second Pakistan bowlers to achieve 100 ODI wickets
  • While South Africa have a 3-2 lead towards Pakistan in ODI World Cups, their final win got here in 1999
  • Quinton de Kock is one century away from tying AB de Villers for many World Cup lots of for South Africa (4)


“I think we have underperformed, in all three matches. We haven’t underperformed this way before. We know that we are not playing good cricket. But our team has bounced back from this situation before and, hopefully, we will come out of this situation.”
Shadab Khan attracts hope from historical past as he admits Pakistan’s current failings

Danyal Rasool is ESPNcricinfo’s Pakistan correspondent. @Danny61000

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