Birmingham, In-form South Africa will look to seal a spot in the semi-finals of the ICC Champions Trophy cricket tournament, while Pakistan will aim to bounce back after being annihilated by India in their Group B match at Edgbaston here on Wednesday.
Pakistan lost their opening game by 124 runs to India through Duckworth-Lewis (D/L) method in a rain-affected match. This must-win clash against South Africa will need Pakistan to produce a much-improved performance to keep their hopes alive in the tournament.
Pakistan bowlers operated with the wrong length against India and their batsman failed to mount a challenge. The poor fielding efforts only added to their all-around woes. Pacer Mohammad Amir and opener Azhar Ali are the only players who clicked in the opening game.
Pakistan will most likely play without their frontline left-arm pacer Wahab Riaz for the rest of the Champions Trophy, who picked an ankle injury in the game against India. Left-arm pacer Amir’s fitness is also a matter of concern after he had to go off the field with cramps but he should be fine in time to take his place in the playing side.
All-rounder Faheem Ashraf, batsman Fakhar Zaman and left-arm pacer Junaid Khan are the possible players most likely to come into the Pakistan side.
South Africa are coming off a brilliant all-round performance against Sri Lanka and will look to continue momentum against Pakistan.
With the likes of Hashim Amla and Faf Du Plessis in the batting department and leg-spinner Imran Tahir in the bowling, the Proteas will look to push with an all-round attack against Pakistan.
A win will see them through to the semi-finals from Group B. Expectedly, there will be no changes to their side that crushed Sri Lanka by 96 runs.
The last time these two nations met in an ICC tournament, World No.8 Pakistan came on top, defeating top ranked South Africa by 29 runs by Duckworth-Lewis (D/L) method.