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 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.
The pitch the game will be played on has lost much of its green in the past 24 hours, and is likely to shed more by match time on Sunday. It’s expected to be a flat wicket, good for batting. These days, that would mean bowl first, but given Pakistan’s misadventure with the toss against India last Sunday, this may just be a better toss to lose for them.
Tips and Tricks
Wicketkeeping: It will be a tricky choice to pick between the two solid keepers – Quinton de Kock and Sarfaraz Ahmed. However, keeping in mind their enormous ability and form at the top of the order, de Kock is must-have in your fantasy XI.
Batting: Some renowned names like Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Faf du Plessis, Hashim Amla and David Miller are enough to instil fear in the minds of opposition bowlers. These batters can easily walk into any fantasy XI in the world.
Bowling: Rated as genuine wicket-takers in any form of cricket – Mohammad Amir, Kagiso Rabada, and Lungi Ngidi are a necessity for any fantasy team in the world. Imran Tahir can be picked as the lone spinner in the side.
All-Rounder: For their big-hitting abilities and a knack for picking up crucial scalps at important stages – Mohammad Hafeez and Chris Morris inclusion in the fanstasy XI is almost a no-brainer.
My Dream XI Team
Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis, Aiden Markram, Imam ul Haq, Babar Azam (C), Chris Morris, Mohammad Hafeez, Lungi Ngidi, Kagiso Rabada, Imran Tahir and Mohammad Amir (VC).
Probable Playing XIs —
Pakistan: Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Haris Sohail, Sarfaraz Ahmed (c&wk), Imad Wasim/Asif Ali, Wahaz Riaz, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali/Mohammd Hasnain
South Africa: Quinton de Kock (wk), Hashim Amla, Aiden Markram, Faf du Plessis (c), Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Imran Tahir.