The no. 1 team in ICC ODI Rankings, South Africa has started the tournament with huge 96 runs win over Sri Lanka. Now, they shifts their focus on number eighth in the rankings Pakistan as both teams meets in a big clash on Wednesday. Pakistan faced a huge loss against rivalry India, so in a situation of must-win. The 7th match of the tournament between Pakistan vs South Africa is scheduled to begin at 1:30 PM Local | 6 PM IST on Wednesday, 7th June 2017.
It’s was a disappointing day for Pakistan on Sunday, they started the tournament with the huge defeat. Pakistan lost that game by 124 runs (DLS Method) to India. As only 3 group matches to be played, Pakistan is in urgency of winning both remaining matches to keep semi-final birth alive. Sarfraz and men are facing the no. 1 team in ODIs, South Africa in this interesting and all important encounter on Wednesday. Pakistan has lost 2 of their front-line bowlers on Sunday. Wahab Riaz who bowled the most expensive spell in Champions Trophy’s history on Sunday, walked back to the pavilion with angle injury. Later, he has been ruled out from Champions Trophy. Left-arm pacer Mohammad Amir also forced to off the field due to cramps on the same day. His availability is not confirmed yet for this clash.
Batsmen Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, all rounder Fahim Ashraf and Junaid Khan are the four players who warmed the bench on other day against India. As Wahab’s replacement is not named yet and Amir also under doubt, chances are high for another left-arm pacer in the team Junaid Khan to play in this match. All rounder Fahim Ashraf is the other seam bowling option, who could bat well too. Remember Fahim scored 64 off just 30 balls against Bangladesh in the warm-up match. Pakistan middle-order collapsed was one of the reason for that huge loss against India, so Sarfraz might prefer this all rounder for this must-win game. Azhar Ali scored well deserved half-century in the last game. He opened the innings along with Ahmed Shehzad who managed to score only 12 runs off 22 balls. These two openers would open the innings once again on Wednesday and solid partnership is expected from them. Babar Azam who was in stunning form throughout 2016/17 season, struggling to score runs since the tests against West Indies last month. He failed to score runs in warm-ups and also dismissed for just 8 runs against India. His form is a big worry for the team now, he is in a hurry to play better innings in this game.
Experienced batting all rounders Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik were played at no. 4 and 5 in the batting order respectively. Same positions are expected for this game. Hafeez managed to score 33 runs, but he faced 43 balls to score that runs. Malik started well, but unfortunately he ran out at the wrong time. Both of these players are a huge asset of Pakistan based on their experiences. Pakistan needs them to perform well to beat mighty South Africans on Wednesday. All rounder Imad Wasim bowled expensive spell against India and also got out for golden duck in that same match. It was a poor game for him personally. He has plenty of responsibilities in the side and he needs to perform well with both bat and bowl. Young 18-year old Shadab Khan played his first match against India and impressed with 1 for 52 in 10 overs. When all experienced bowlers gone expensive, he bowled under 6 RPO in that high scoring innings of India. He also stayed unbeaten with 14 runs in that game. He is an emerging player and he could be a game changer for Pakistan. Hasan Ali bowled at 7 runs per over in his 10 overs. Suddenly Hasan Ali has huge pressure on his shoulders because of injured Amir and Wahab. He needs to deliver the goods at right time on Wednesday.
SOUTH AFRICA :
Slow start in the first power-play, increasing strike-rate in the middle-overs and aggressive approach in the death overs – that was the mantra which used by South Africans in their opening game against Sri Lanka on Saturday. Later on, Imran Tahir came with splendid spell of four for 27 which assured a big win for Proteas. As India also won their first match, South Africa needs to win this game against Pakistan to stay in the top of Group B. AB de Villiers gone with two pace bowlers along with 2 bowling all rounders in that game. Tahir was the lone specialist spinner. That combination worked well for the no. 1 team in ODI rankings other day. Top order batters also done a good job for their team. The partnership of Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis for the second wicket set the platform the middle-order batsmen.
Wicket keeper cum opener Quinton de Kock played very cautious innings and he managed to score 23 off 42 balls. But, he has proved his talents in so many occasions for Proteas and he could play contrast innings against Pakistan by scoring quick runs for his team. His partner Hashim Amla’s good form continued in that game where he scored an another ODI century in his career. His well constructed innings of 103 runs off 115 balls included 5 fours and 2 sixes, allowed others to play shots in the death overs. Faf du Plessis also played a very good knock and scored 75 runs off 70 balls with 6 fours. Amla is expected to play another good innings based on his current form, Faf is capable much better knock as well. Captain AB de Villiers fell early in the last game for just 4 runs. But Mr. 360 could turn the table at any moment and could score mighty runs in any match. South Africa’s middle-order is filled with David Miller, JP Duminy and Chris Morris. David Miller was in good form in warm-ups, he started well against Sri Lanka. But he dismissed for 18 runs at crucial time of the innings. Once the stage is set for him, he could smash the ball all over the park in end overs.
Batting all rounder JP Duminy was in good touch in death overs and played a match saving innings for his team. He scored 38 off just 20 balls at strike rate of 190. He smashed 5 fours and a six in his quick knock. JP’s batting would be a key factor for South Africa in the middle-overs and end overs. Bowling all rounder Chris Morris also gave a good company to Duminy in the end overs, he managed to score 20 off 19 balls. He also picked 2 wickets in his 7 overs spell. Morris is expected to come with an another all round performances with both bat and bowl on Wednesday. Wayne Parnell got an opportunity ahead of Andile Phehlukwayo and Dwaine Pretorius. He remained wicket-less in his 10 overs spell and also struggled to rotate strikes in the slog overs. That may open the door for either Phehlukwayo or Pretorius in this game. Imran Tahir was a Man of the Match in that game against Sri Lanka for his bowling effort of 4/27. He is a game changer and an asset of South Africa’s spin department. Pacers Kagiso Rabada and Morne Morkel also bowled well in their respective spells. Rabada is no.1 in ICC ODI bowlers rankings and he could live up to the expectations in this game. Morkel would get an another opportunity based on his experiences and also for his variations. Keshav Maharaj and Farhaan Behardien could wait for their turns in the tournament.
KEY PLAYERS :
- Azhar Ali
- Shoaib Malik
- Babar Azam
- Ahmed Shehzad
- Sarfraz Ahmed
- Imad Wasim
- Hasan Ali
SOUTH AFRICA :
- AB de Villiers
- Quinton de Kock
- Hashim Amla
- Faf du Plessis
- JP Duminy
- Chris Morris
- Kagiso Rabada
- Imran Tahir
POSSIBLE LINEUPS :
No news yet about Mohammad Amir’s fitness. If he is not available for this game, chances are high Fahim Ashraf and Junaid Khan to play against South Africa. In that case Fahim would make his debut in ODIs. Pakistan is expected to go same top 5 in the batting order as they are well experienced in those positions.
1. Azhar Ali, 2. Ahmed Shehzad, 3. Babar Azam, 4. Mohammad Hafeez, 5. Shoaib Malik, 6. Sarfraz Ahmed, 7. Fahim Ashraf / Mohammad Amir, 8. Imad Wasim, 9. Shadab Khan, 10. Hasan Ali, 11. Junaid Khan.
SOUTH AFRICA :
Just one change is expected in South Africa’s XI. Wayne Parnell may make a way for either Andile Phehlukwayo or Dwaine Pretorius.
1. Quinton de Kock, 2. Hashim Amla, 3. Faf du Plessis, 4. AB de Villiers, 5. David Miller, 6. JP Duminy, 7. Chris Morris, 8. Andile Phehlukwayo / Wayne Parnell, 9. Kagiso Rabada, 10. Imran Tahir, 11. Morne Morkel.
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