Pakistan, coming into this game on the back of two back-to-back losses against Australia and Afghanistan, will have to play out of their skins to keep a rampaging South African side out of their way. Babar Azam’s men are known to be unpredictable, especially regarding ICC events, but this game will be challenging for them by any means. Firstly, the MA Chidambaram Stadium pitch in Chennai assists spin, and Pakistan hardly have any decent spinners.
Their bowling attack is laced with fast bowlers, and they have yet to be in the wickets in this tournament. On the other hand, South Africa are in a run of form, almost exceeding their expectations. Their batters have run riot against most of the teams they have played against, with opener-wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock leading the batter’s charts after having already scored three centuries in this tournament. Heinrich Klaasen is looking sharp in the middle-order, too, and it will take Pakistan a lot of guts to get these batsmen to stop scoring runs at will.
Probable Playing XIs
Pakistan: Abdullah Shafique, Imam Ul Haq, Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Iftikhar Ahmed, Saud Shakeel, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Usama Mir, Hasan Ali, Haris Rauf.
South Africa: Quinton de Kock, Temba Bavuma (c), Aiden Markram, Heinrich Klaasen, Reeza Hendricks, David Miller, Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lizaad Williams.
Babar Azam: Pakistan skipper Babar Azam is always a threat, and he can play havoc with South Africa’s best-laid plans if he decides to do so. He is a somewhat temperamental batsman but a classical one who can light the World Cup on fire if he is at his best.
Quinton de Kock: The southpaw has been at his regal best in this tournament. He has struck three centuries and hopes to get a few more. He stands between Pakistan and victory in this game, and quite firmly.
South Africa are the favourites to win this game. The latter have got their tactics wrong and failed on an epic scale in this tournament. On the other hand, South Africa have been on fire throughout and hope to round off another victory here in Chennai.