Pakistan, Proteas to fight for semi-final spot | india | Hindustan Times
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Pakistan, Proteas to fight for semi-final spot

india Updated: Oct 27, 2006 03:37 IST

Pushed to the corner after their defeat against New Zealand, Pakistan will have to regroup quickly and find their best form when they clash with South Africa in the Champions Trophy on Thursday, a contest which would decide the second semi-finalist from group-B.

Both sides need a victory to make it to the semi-finals of the high-profile event having lost one of their two games played so far, staging the set for a cracker of a match under floodlights.

Form and odds, however, favour South Africa as they are not only above Pakistan in the run rate table, but have shrugged off the first match defeat to the Kiwis with a handsome win against Sri Lanka in their last match and put their campaign back on track.

The story has unfolded a little differently for Younis Khan's men. From captaincy drama, change of regime and worst still the doping scandal, which forced them to pull out the important pace duo of Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif, Pakistan were totally in shambles.

But nothing mattered to the talented Pakistanis when they took the field in the first match against Sri Lanka and beat them in a keenly contested game. True to their unpredictable nature, they slumped against New Zealand and suffered a 51-run defeat.

New Zealand thus secured the first semi-final berth of the competition as they finished their league engagements with two wins and one defeat. Sri Lanka have been chucked out of the tournament with two defeats and one win.