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ICC World Cup: Pakistan to face South Africa at MA Chidambaram Stadium, in Chennai

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South Africa and Pakistan were treading on a similar path after the first three rounds of the World Cup. Both teams had started off with two convincing wins which was then followed by a loss that could have potentially derailed the campaign given the significance. South Africa lost to the Netherlands, the team that could occupy the 10th spot when the league stages come to a close. And Pakistan lost a high-pressure World Cup game against India yet again and the contest was so one-sided that the backlash home was quite severe.

Almost ten days later, only one of these two teams have managed to recover from those defeats. Pakistan’s fortunes have completely turned around. Two more defeats have them navigating through thin ice. The fact that the latest one came against Afghanistan will sting. Like Shadab Khan pointed out 24 hours before the game, ‘everything will cover up’ if Pakistan put together a string of wins. And if they do plan on going on that winning run, it has to kick off on Friday (October 27).

The Pakistan side that won the tournament in 1992 won five games in a row when their campaign was on the brink of collapsing. Four in a row in 2023 will likely put Pakistan in the semifinals. But embarking on a run like that will be no mean feat especially when South Africa are the first of those four opponents. South Africa have posted a 400 plus score, 399, 382 and a 300 plus score so far in five games. The firepower in that batting lineup has already been the talking point of the tournament, so for an out-of-form pace attack to contain them is going to be no mean task.

At best, Pakistan can hope for help from the surface. Not that their spin attack oozes a lot of confidence but a typical Chepauk wicket is what the Asian side would hope for to keep that South African middle order in check. Coming into this game on the back of two successive games at the Wankhede might be a tricky challenge for South Africa. If the adaptability is seamless, they will back themselves to add to Pakistan’s woes.


South Africa Squad: Quinton de Kock, Reeza Hendricks, Rassie van der Dussen, Aiden Markram(c), Heinrich Klaasen(w), David Miller, Marco Jansen, Gerald Coetzee, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Lizaad Williams, Temba Bavuma, Andile Phehlukwayo, Lungi Ngidi, Tabraiz Shamsi

Pakistan Squad: Abdullah Shafique, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam(c), Mohammad Rizwan(w), Saud Shakeel, Shadab Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shaheen Afridi, Usama Mir, Hasan Ali, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Fakhar Zaman, Agha Salman, Mohammad Nawaz

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