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Inconsistent Pakistan and South Africa compete to stay alive

Prior to the World Cup, no one would have predicted that by the time South Africa and Pakistan clash with each other, both teams would be staring down at the prospect of a first-round exit.

Such a scenario has developed in the preceding weeks whereby the two sides have failed to discover their winning combination while off the field drama has burdened the already crumbling World Cup campaign for the Proteas in particular.

Although South Africa are placed one position above Pakistan in the ten-team table, their hopes for qualifying for the semi-finals are all but over as they possess the same number of points as their opponents on Sunday despite having played an additional game.

South Africa would take heart from their extraordinary fightback against New Zealand on Wednesday where they almost defended the modest target of 242.

However, it has been their abysmal batting which has been consistently failing to convert starts into big scores and not succeeding in assisting the efforts of the bowlers.

Pakistan, meanwhile, had a lay-off period of a week following their humiliating defeat to arch-rivals India by 89 runs under the DLS method.

The writing on the wall could not be clearer for Sarfaraz Ahmed's men as they require victories in all of their remaining games to stand a possible chance of making it into the top four.

While the equation looks simple and not particularly daunting considering Pakistan's tougher fixtures have already occurred, their current ODI form does not give a lot of encouragement heading into the upcoming four games.

Sunday's clash will, nevertheless, decide which team will once and for all be eliminated from the World Cup.

Mohammad Amir's red-hot form signals warning

A vintage Mohammad Amir has arrived onto the shores of England and Wales in this World Cup.

Comfortably the spearhead of Pakistan's pace attack, Amir's exceptional numbers in this tournament surpass the rest of his fellow bowlers.

He now returns to the iconic venue of Lord's, the same ground where his international career halted in the summer of 2010.

One of the leading wicket-takers in the World Cup, Sarfaraz needs to look no further than Amir to derail the South African batting line-up.

Imran Tahir's miserly returns

Imran Tahir has been one of South Africa's most prolific bowlers in the tournament.

The oldest member of the squad, he has been able to recover his form and create uncertainties in the minds of the opposing batsmen.

Tahir almost had centurion Kane Williamson the other day during the game against New Zealand had captain Faf du Plessis trusted his experienced bowler to go upstairs for a review for caught-behind.

Tahir will be feeling upbeat and raring to unleash his wide array of variations against Pakistan following their struggles against India's wrist-spin duo at Old Trafford.

Squads

Pakistan: Sarfaraz Ahmed (c, wk), Asif Ali, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Amir, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Imam-ul-Haq, Shadab Khan, Shoaib Malik, Wahab Riaz, Haris Sohail, Imad Wasim, Fakhar Zaman

South Africa: Faf du Plessis (c), Aiden Markram, Quinton de Kock (wk), Hashim Amla, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Chris Morris, Andile Phehlukwayo, JP Duminy, Dwaine Pretorius, Beuran Hendricks, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Imran Tahir, Tabraiz Shamsi