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Cricket World Cup 2019

Preview: Pakistan v South Africa: Key Players to watch out for

An enticing battle is on the cards as Pakistan and South Africa lock horns with each other on Sunday at the iconic Lord’s in London. Both teams have had quite a torrid time in the tournament so far. While South Africa are sitting at eighth on the points table with one win from six matches, Pakistan are placed at ninth with the same number of victories but having played a match lesser than South Africa. Both of these two teams will come out with all guns blazing in this match and the fate of the encounter will be determined by the performance of some key players from both the sides. Let’s have a look at those players who could make an impact in this all important clash.

For Pakistan:

Imam-ul-Haq
The classy left-handed opener has accumulated only 106 runs at an average of 26.50 so far in this World Cup. Hence, he would be desperate to turn his World Cup 2019 campaign around when Pakistan play South Africa on Sunday. The last time these two teams played against each other, back in January, Imam-ul-Haq starred with the bat scoring 271 runs in five matches at an average of 54.20. It included one century and two fifties as well. As he gears up to take on the same bowling unit once again, he would be hoping to get his lost touch back.

Babar Azam
He is Pakistan’s best batsman but is yet to fire properly in the tournament. Even 163 runs in four innings at a healthy average of 40.75 in the competition thus far doesn’t do justice to his talent and potential. He would be eager to play a big innings as Pakistan take on South Africa in the next match. Moreover, Azam would have a mental edge while facing the Proteas bowling unit as he averages an excellent 56.50 in six matches against them.

Mohammad Amir
Amir’s ODI record against South Africa isn’t great as he has only two wickets to his name in four matches, that too at a dismal bowling average of 76. However, the left-arm pacer has been a different beast in this tournament. Amir is second on the list of most wickets in the tournament at present with 13 wickets to his name at a mind-boggling average and strike-rate of 13.07 and 16.6 respectively. Although the South African batsmen have dealt with him successfully in the past, facing him this time is going to be a different proposition altogether.

South Africa

Hashim Amla
The veteran South African batsman didn’t get off to the best of starts in the tournament but it seems he is slowly getting back into his groove if his scores of 43 and 55 in the last two games are anything to go by. Amla has a vast experience of playing against Pakistan too. In 24 matches against them, he has over 1000 runs at an average of 47.50. He has eight fifty-plus scores to his name against them, three of which are centuries. So, Amla will need to step up once again if South Africa want to infuse some positivity into their otherwise disappointing campaign.

Rassie van der Dussen
He has looked like the most confident of all the South African batsmen featuring in this tournament. Van der Dussen is averaging 60 with 180 runs to his name in four innings and he will be eager to take his game a notch higher when he goes up against Pakistan. He featured in South Africa’s home series against Pakistan back in January and scored 241 runs in four innings at an astonishing average of 120.50. He is coming into this match on the back of a good knock of 67 runs as well. Hence, Pakistan should be wary of him.

Lungi Ngidi
Although it has been a year since the 23-year-old started his international career, he is still a relatively unknown commodity to the Pakistani batters. They are yet to face him in ODIs and that can be quite a concern for them considering the way pace and bounce tore them apart in the match against the Windies. Ngidi is of the same mould and he has quite an impressive record in ODIs. In 21 matches, he has picked up 38 wickets at an excellent average and strike-rate of 23.23 and 25.5 respectively.

Prasenjit Dey is freelance cricket journalist based out of Kolkata, India. Cricket runs through his veins and writing has always been his passion. He is now a part of both worlds, trying to make a difference by writing on the nitty-gritty of the game.

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