Preview: South Africa hold the edge against Pakistan in the battle of two struggling teams
Both South Africa and Pakistan are languishing at the bottom of the points table in the ICC World Cup 2019. While South Africa are placed 8th, with 3 points in 6 games at a Net Run Rate of – 0.193, Pakistan is 9th with 3 points in 5 games at a Net Run rate of – 1.933.
Both the teams are coming off defeats in their last games – Pakistan was decimated by India by 89 runs (D/L method) and South Africa was trumped by New Zealand by four wickets in the final over. Hence, the confidence would be low for both South Africa and Pakistan when they clash at Lord’s on June 23 for their World Cup 2019 encounter.
However, Pakistan would be feeling worse as their performance against India was horrible and insipid. South Africa, at least, fought till the very end and bowled excellently in their game against New Zealand.
South Africa, hence, will hold the edge in this exciting encounter. Moreover, in the last 5 ODIs between the two sides, South Africa has won 3 times with Pakistan emerging victorious on two occasions. Both the teams are struggling and are desperate for victory in this game to entertain any thoughts of making it to the final four.
South Africa’s batting hasn’t been great in this tournament and they would rely on opener Quinton de Kock (191 runs in 6 innings), Rassie van der Dussen (180 runs in 4 innings), captain Faf Du Plessis (128 runs in 5 innings) and Hashim Amla (121 runs in 5 innings) to do the bulk of the scoring. The likes of David Miller and Aiden Markram would need to be much better.
South Africa’s bowling has been excellent. Chris Morris, especially, has been in great form and took 3-49 against New Zealand. Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi and Imran Tahir can be a handful too.
Pakistan’s batting has mainly been shambolic in this World Cup, save for that game against England. Their highest scorer till now is Babar Azam who has 163 runs in 4 innings, followed by Mohammad Hafeez with 155 runs. The others have been mostly inconsistent and would need to step up.
Pakistan’s bowling was supposed to be their strength. But barring Mohammad Amir, who has been in sensational form with 13 wickets in 4 matches, the others haven’t done a great job. Hasan Ali, their star bowler in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, has been their biggest disappointment, taking only two wickets at an economy of 7.75.
Pakistan’s bowling will thus have to be much better if they hope to restrict South Africa.
Pitch Conditions and Pakistan vs South Africa Prediction:
Lord’s is an excellent surface and generally has something in it for both the batsmen and the bowlers. The highest team total on this venue in a 50-over game is 328-6 by England against the Netherlands.
The game between South Africa and Pakistan will be the first match at Lord’s in the World Cup 2019. So how the pitch will behave is still uncertain. But the team batting first should get more than 280+. South Africa has a better all-around team, and Pakistan is struggling in all departments at the moment. Hence, the Proteas should emerge victorious in this match unless Pakistan pulls out their unpredictable surprise yet again.