South Africa successfully avoided playing Sri Lanka in the semifinal and will play the relatively easier but unpredictable Pakistan on Thursday. But the Proteas will be wary on two counts. One, the Trent Bridge pitch is already providing uncommon assistance to spinners. Two, the Pakistan team is just about coming into its own - the bowling being the most potent weapon and will only look better at Trent Bridge. In a low-scoring game, which is what Thursday's game promises to be, Pakistan can never be dismissed.
Pakistan's batting strength is the trio of Younis Khan, Shoaib Malik and Misbah-ul Haq. The form of Kamran Akmal and Afridi is encouraging. Umar Gul, and Sohail Tanvir, are beginning to put opposition on alert. Only a fool would discount Pakistan's chances.
The worry is this South African team, like Sri Lanka, is yet to taste defeat in the competition. They have defended low totals against New Zealand and India. They believe the time has come for them to clinch a major cricket trophy in the international arena.