Match 29 of the ICC Cricket World Cup will be played between Pakistan and South Africa in Auckland. While both the teams have been getting wins lately, this Pakistan vs South Africa fixture is expected to be a close game.
Having registered two back to back victories, Pakistan seems like a rejuvenated side altogether. The batsmen, Ahmed Shehzad in particular, have found their touch in the game against UAE and were able to post a big total. Their opponents on Saturday are more challenging and the likes of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander and Kyle Abbott will come out firing on all cylinders. Nasir Jamshed’s poor form at the top of the order will be a major concern and the Pakistan team management should consider playing Sarfraz Ahmed, who is also their reserve opener.
The Pakistani bowling unit has to be really creative and there is no margin for error as they will be playing two of the best batsmen in the world. Misbah-ul-Haq should use his spinners well against the big-hitters like AB de Villiers, J P Duminy and David Miller and there is a chance that Yasir Shah may come into the equation.
Probable XI: Ahmed Shehzad, Sarfraz Ahmed, Haris Sohail, Misbah-ul-Haq (c), Sohaib Maqsood, Umar Akmal (wk), Shahid Afridi, Wahab Riaz, Sohail Khan, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Irfan.
Comfortably placed 2nd on the pool B points table, South Africa would look to carry on their winning momentum. A win against Pakistan will make them the third team to qualify in the quarterfinals after New Zealand and India. Having registered two 400 plus scores in a row, South Africa’s batting is on fire but the only worry is Quinton de Kock’s form. He could be rested in the game against Pakistan with Rilee Rossouw asked to open the innings. The wicketkeeping duties can be performed by AB de Villiers himself.
There is absolutely no worry in the bowling department as the bowlers are complimenting each other very well. Imran Tahir’s role as a spinner will be important for the Proteas during the middle overs.
Probable XI: Hashim Amla, Rilee Rossouw, Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers (c/wk), J P Duminy, David Miller, Vernon Philander, Kyle Abbott, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir.
Pakistan vs South Africa: Key battles:
1. Wahab Riaz vs AB de Villiers: Wahab Riaz is possibly one of the most experienced fast bowlers in the current Pakistani team and the battle will be between his variations and AB de Villiers’ pyrotechniques. The South African captain has a wide range of shots – from the lofted hit over extra cover to the paddle sweep over fine leg for a six.
2. Dale Steyn vs Ahmed Shehzad: Arguably one of the best bowlers in the world, Dale Steyn will be aiming to rip the Pakistani batting line-up apart. Ahmed Shehzad is known to handle the quick bowlers well and it will be an interesting contest between these two.
Pakistan vs South Africa: Last Meeting:
Match: Pakistan tour of South Africa, 3rd ODI on November 30 2013
Venue: Centurion, South Africa
Result: South Africa won by 4 wickets.