Pakistan & SA gear up for must-win battle at Lord's (Preview)
June 22 (CRICKETNMORE) It will not be any regular World Cup encounter when Pakistan take on South Africa at the Lord's on Sunday. Two teams with their backs to the wall will be clashing at the historic ground to stay alive in the 2019 edition of the World Cup.
While Pakistan have stayed true to their unpredictable nature -- losing to West Indies, Australia and India while beating hosts England - South Africa have been the biggest disappointment of this edition of the showpiece event as they have failed to even stage a fight.
Morning has clearly shown the day for the Proteas. Starting off with a 104-run loss to England in the opening game of the tournament, they then lost to Bangladesh by 21 runs before India thrashed them by six wickets. A no-result against Windies later (due to rain), they beat Afghanistan. But New Zealand beat them by four wickets to push them back to the bottom half of the points table.
For Pakistan, nothing has clicked. While the batting has been mediocre to say the least, the bowlers have failed to pick wickets at the top half of the innings. The fielding has been below average as usual.
But for South Africa, it has been a case of surrendering even before the choke has been applied. While their batting has left a lot to be desired, the worst part has been the fielding of a side that took world cricket by storm with its athletic fielders since their return to international cricket in 1992.
The injury woes to the pacers haven't helped either. But all in all, it has been a poor show from a team that was considered contenders for the semi-final slot along with India, England and Australia.
On Sunday, it will be all about holding their nerves and executing their skills as pointed by Pakistan pacer Wahab Riaz. The fast bowler has also rung the warning bell for the opposition and said that the Pakistan players have discussed their mistakes and are looking to make up for lost time.
The weather is expected to be cloudy, but there is no sign of rain as such and the pitch should aid the batsmen. So, both teams will expect their batsmen to stand up and make it count in a match that will decide on their future in the showpiece event. The spinners will also come into the picture if the sun is out.
Squads: Pakistan: Sarfaraz Ahmed (c, wk), Asif Ali, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Amir, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Imam-ul-Haq, Shadab Khan, Shoaib Malik, Wahab Riaz, Haris Sohail, Imad Wasim, Fakhar Zaman
South Africa: Faf du Plessis (c), Aiden Markram, Quinton de Kock (wk), Hashim Amla, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Chris Morris, Andile Phehlukwayo, JP Duminy, Dwaine Pretorius, Beuran Hendricks, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Imran Tahir, Tabraiz Shamsi