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Clueless Pakistan face the World No.1
ICC Champions Trophy

Clueless Pakistan face the World No.1

The road till here

Pakistan will face South Africa in the 7th match of the Champions Trophy on the 7th of June at Edgbaston. While South Africa will look to seal their chances of qualifying for the semi-final, Pakistan not only have to win to keep their hopes alive but also cannot afford to lose for the sake of their direct qualification for 2019 World Cup.

South Africa played and won their first match of the CT comfortably against Sri Lanka at The Oval. The maestro Hashim Amla scored his 25th ODI hundred while Faf du Plessis and JP Duminy also hit form at the right time; scoring 75(70) and 38*(20) respectively. Imran Tahir was the pick of the bowlers as he took 4 wickets.

Pakistan on the other hand would want to forget the humiliation they faced in their first match of the tournament against India on Sunday: Pakistan lost by an emphatic margin of 124 runs (D/L method). Wahab Riaz bowled the most expensive spell in the history of Champions Trophy: 87 runs in 8.4 overs before he was taken off the field due to a twisted right ankle. Perhaps thankfully for him and his team’s fans, he has been ruled out of the tournament.

What to expect

The last time these two teams met was at the 2015 ICC World Cup in Australia/New Zealand, when contrary to everyone's expectations Pakistan pulled off an unlikely victory in a rain affected game. However on the 7th of June the rain feels like the only element that might be repeated.

Now that the ‘out of the box’ approach has backfired it is high time that the Pakistan team management utilises its resources effectively, play the right team combination, make their best ODI batsmen bat higher up the order and make better bowling and fielding choices. They still might lose but at least they would be more likely to put up a decent fight.

South Africa weren’t able to post a 300 plus score against Sri Lanka as Quinton de Kock, AB de Villiers and David Miller failed to capitalize. They’d like to score runs against Pakistan to get back into form before the big game against India. Imran Tahir and Kagiso Rabada will be their strike bowlers as per usual.

Probable XI

Pakistan: Fakhar Zaman, Sarfraz Ahmed(c/wk), Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Harris Sohail, Mohammad Hafeez, Shadab Khan, Fahim Ashraf, Hassan Ali, Mohammad Amir, Junaid Khan

South Africa: Quinton de Kock(wk), Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers(c), David Miller, JP Duminy, Chris Morris, Wayne Parnell, Morne Morkel, Kagiso Rabada, Imran Tahir

Players that can make a difference

Hashim Amla: In the 14 ODIs he’s played this year; he has scored 616 runs, 2 hundreds and broken a few records. He has been the fastest to 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000, 6000 and recently added that mark for 7000 ODI runs as well. Those go with his 25 hundreds, the most by a South African and which took him only 151 innings to achieve.

Kagiso Rabada: The world no 1 ODI bowler wasn’t at his best during the opening game vs Sri Lanka and he’d like to get back into rhythm before his team (likely) plays in the semi-final. Rabada has taken 22 wickets at an average of 25.45 so far this year.

Shoaib Malik: He faced 9 balls, hit two 4s and one gorgeous 6 straight down the ground before he was run-out on 15 against India in their opening match. He is probably the only Pakistani who can make a difference with his batting. Shoaib Malik averages 63.20 with the bat this year.

Shadab Khan: He broke the opening stand of 136 runs between Sharma and Dhawan and then almost got Yuvraj Singh's wicket. Shadab showed nerves of steel against India and will prove to be more than handy against the Proteas.

Stat Alert

Pakistan and South Africa have played 72 ODIs so far, out which Pakistan managed to win only 24 and South Africa 47.

In the Champions Trophy South Africa eads head-to-head 2-0.

South Africa have beaten Pakistan in the last edition of the Champions Trophy at the same venue, Edgbaston.

Wayne Parnell has taken 94 wickets and needs 6 more to reach the 100 wickets milestone.

AB de Villiers averages 61.86 against Pakistan with three centuries.