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Thursday, Sep 19, 2019

ICC World Cup 2019, Pakistan vs South Africa: Top five player battles – Proteas wary of Amir threat

Let’s take a look at some important player battles that could decide the course of the match between Pakistan and South Africa at the Lord’s.

cricket Updated: Jun 22, 2019 16:34 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Pakistan's Mohammad Amir (L) with Pakistan's captain Sarfaraz Ahmed.
Pakistan's Mohammad Amir (L) with Pakistan's captain Sarfaraz Ahmed.(AFP)

With both teams virtually out of the semi-final race, South Africa and Pakistan will be battling it out for a consolation win in their World Cup match at the Lord’s in London on Sunday. ((ICC World Cup 2019: Full Scorecard))

Having mustered just three points from six games, South Africa are all but out of the tournament while Pakistan might still sneak into the semifinals, provided they win their remaining four games and other results go in their favour.

However, following Pakistan’s heavy loss against India on June 16, not many of their supporters have any hopes left from their struggling side. Let’s take a look at some important player battles that could decide the course of the match at this iconic venue –

Also Read: Pakistani fan apologises after fat-shaming Sarfaraz Ahmed

Quinton de Kock vs Mohammad Amir

Opener Quinton de Kock hasn’t set the tournament alight with his batting so far and will look to make amends against Pakistan. Things aren’t going to be easy for the southpaw as he will have to face the furious pace of fast-bowler Mohammad Amir early on. De Kock has faced 36 deliveries from Amir in the past and he has scored 28 runs. To his credit, the South African hasn’t been dismissed by Amir yet in ODI or in Test cricket.

Hashim Amla vs Hasan Ali

Opener Hashim Amla finally returned to form and struck a half-century in South Africa’s last match against New Zealand. He will look to continue the form against Pakistan but he will come up against pacer Hasan Ali, who holds a good record against him. Off 17 Ali deliveries, Amla has scored 16 runs and he has been dismissed by the right-arm pacer once.

Faf du Plessis vs Wahab Riaz

Skipper Faf du Plessis will like to get some runs under his belt and fire his team to a grace-saving win against Pakistan. He is likely to come face-to-face with experience Pakistan pacer Wahab Riaz and it will definitely be one of the most interesting battle to watch out for in this match. Wahab has bowled 36 deliveries to du Plessis in the past and the South African has scored 63 runs at a strike rate of 175. The left-arm pacer will take heart from the fact that he has dismissed the stylish batsman once in ODIs.

Also Read: Hafeez defends Sarfaraz for overlooking PM Imran Khan’s toss advice

Imam-ul-Haq vs Kagiso Rabada

Opener Imam-ul-Haq is due for a big score in the tournament and he will look for to end his drought against speedster South Africa. Kagiso Rabada will make things difficult for Imam early in the innings, something which he has done increasingly well in the past. The two have faced each other in the past and both Imam and Rabada will feel confident of doing well. Off 64 Rabada deliveries, Imam has scored 40 runs and has been dismissed by the pacer once.

Babar Azam vs Imran Tahir

Pakistan batting maestro Babar Azam will pose a big threat for the South African bowlers and they need to be wary of his classy batting in the middle-order. He is likely to come up against spinner Imran Tahir, who usually operates in this period of the innings. Off 60 Tahir deliveries, Azam has scored 60 runs and hasn’t been dismissed yet by the spinner. Expect these stats to change dramatically in this upcoming contest.

First Published: Jun 22, 2019 16:09 IST