South Africa are all set to battle it out against Pakistan in the first game of the ICC World Cup 2019 at Lord’s Cricket Ground, today. Will we witness another close encounter? Well, the chances of that happening are pretty good as both the sides are struggling in the ongoing tournament.
In the last fixture, Pakistan were humiliated by their arch-rivals India. While South Africa lost to New Zealand in a nail-biting low score game. This defeat has put a question mark on the qualification to the next round for both the sides.
As of now, Pakistan are in the ninth position with three points from five games. While the Proteas are in the eighth position with three points from six games. It’s a do or die situation for both the sides as a defeat in today’s fixture can end their run in the competition.
The chances of Pakistan making it to the semi-final are better than South Africa. As the Men in Green have one extra match in hand in comparison to their opponents.
In the history of World Cup, Pakistan have defeated South Africa only on one occasion while found themselves at the losing end three times. This overall record along with the pressure of winning this fixture might result in the poor performance from the Men in Green.
Pakistan (Probable XI): Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Sarfaraz Ahmed (C & WK), Asif Ali, Imad Wasim, Wahab Riaz, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, and Mohammad Amir
South Africa (Probable XI): Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock (WK), Aiden Markram, Faf du Plessis (C), Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Chris Morris, Andile Phehlukwayo, Lungi Ngidi, Kagiso Rabada, Imran Tahir
Babar Azam vs Imran Tahir
It’s not been an amazing tournament for Babar Azam so far. The Pakistan batsman has only scored one half-century in the ongoing World Cup. This is one of the issues, why the Men in Green are struggling to win the matches as they highly rely on Azam for runs.
Will the story be different today? I highly doubt that because Azam will be up against one of the top spinners of this generation, Imran Tahir. The South African spinner is currently ranked fourth in the ICC ODI bowler ranking, which clearly suggests how good he’s been in recent times.
Also, Tahir has already picked eight wickets in the ongoing World Cup with the fifth best bowling figure of the competition (4/29).
It is not going to be easy for Azam to score runs off Tahir bowling. So, if the Pakistan batsman just plays off the spinner then there are chances that Azam might be able to help his side in scoring a big total.
Mohammad Amir vs Quinton De Kock
This is going to be an interesting battle with two young talented players going all out against each other. However, the chances of Mohammad Amir winning this battle are a bit high in comparison to Quinton De Kock.
The reason being that Amir has been at the top of his game in the ongoing World Cup. While De Kock has struggled against the seam bowling in the starting of the match.
Moreover, Amir has already picked 13 wickets in his five appearances, which has made him the fourth highest wicket-taker of this tournament. The Pakistan pacer has been a key for his side in the bowling. Other than him there is no other Pakistan bowler, who has created difficulties for other teams.
De Kock, on the other hand, has scored two half-centuries in the ongoing World Cup. This clearly suggests that the South African opener is in good touch. However, Amir will be a huge threat for De Kock today.
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The two sides have struggled in the competition so far. So, we are expecting another close encounter, today. Both Pakistan and South Africa have a good bowling line-up but have struggled in scoring runs, which means the team whose batsman will put up a good show. Will have a better chance of winning this fixture.
According to Cricwizz, South Africa will come out on the top in this fixture. As they have a better bowling line-up in comparison to Pakistan. Also, the chances of winning this game for Proteas will increase, if they will bat first.
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