South Africa vs Pakistan: Preview and Prediction
South Africa has been a force to reckon with this year. They have been a completely balanced unit and gelled together as a team to decimate the opposition. The Proteas have won four out of their five matches and have acquired eight points in their bag.
Currently, the Men in Green and Gold are stationed second in the points tally ahead of New Zealand courtesy of a better net run rate of +2.370 which kept them ahead of the Kiwis. Their only loss came against Netherlands who scripted history by thrashing South Africa twice within a year across two formats.
On the other hand, Pakistan have lost their momentum after the defeat against India. It was like a shellshock to them and Babar Azam and his troops are yet to recover with a victory. After starting the campaign with a couple of wins, they incurred three losses in a row. With four points in the pocket, the Shaheens are positioned fifth in the points table.
What have they done so far?
South Africa kicked off the tourney in a glamorous way. They recorded the highest-ever total in the history of the World Cup of 428 runs against Sri Lanka at the Arun Jaitley Stadium, Delhi. This was followed by a win against Australia before they were grounded by the Dutch side.
After enforcing an upset in the T20 World Cup 2022, the Netherlands trounced South Africa for the second time within a space of 365 days. The Proteas were defeated by 38 runs, failing to chase down 245 runs. However, the Proteas bounced back with humongous triumphs, defeating England by a margin of 229 runs and eclipsing Bangladesh by 149 runs.
On the flip side, Pakistan kicked off their campaign with victories against the Netherlands and Sri Lanka. The former was a comprehensive victory while the latter was a narrow one. In their next assignment against arch-rivals India, Pakistan suffered a thumping defeat as they were folded for 191 runs and the Men in Blue overhauled the target with seven wickets in hand.
Babar Azam and his men lost against Australia in their following game. The Aussies got 367 runs on board which turned out to be way too much to be surpassed. Interestingly, their latest defeat came against Afghanistan and the former World Champions were drubbed hard by the Afghans. A sublime top-order batting saw the Afghan side chase down 283 runs with ease with an over to spare.
Head to Head Record
South Africa and Pakistan have locked horns on 82 occasions in the 50 Over format. The African nation has secured 51 wins to Pakistan’s 30. One of the games between both sides ended up without a definite result. However, if magnified into the last ten ODI battles between both teams, it’s the men in green that have been victorious on six cases.
Quinton de Kock (South Africa): The wicketkeeper-batter is in some form at the moment. De Kock loves the conditions of India and has tonked three centuries in just five innings so far. Initially, he struck two back-to-back tons against Sri Lanka and Australia and the latest came against Bangladesh where he racked up 174 runs.
The southpaw is on his last journey when it comes to the ODI format and this one has been memorable so far. With 407 runs from five innings, de Kock is currently leading the chart in the most runs section of the World Cup 2023.
Mohammad Rizwan (Pakistan): This World Cup has seen few wicketkeeper-batters dominate the scenes. Another such example is Mohammad Rizwan of Pakistan.
The right-handed batter has notched up 302 runs from five innings thus far. His ton against Sri Lanka was one of the primary reasons why Pakistan earned a victory. Rizwan is a fantastic player of both pace and spin and has an average of 75.50 in the ongoing mega-event.
South Africa: Reeza Hendricks, Quinton de Kock (wk), Rassie van der Dussen, Aiden Markram ©, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Gerald Coetzee, Tabraiz Shamsi
Pakistan: Abdullah Shafique, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam ©, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Saud Shakeel, Shadab Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Usama Mir, Shaheen Afridi, Hasan Ali, Haris Rauf
With the form South Africa is in, they look like the clear favorites on paper but the spin-friendly conditions in Chennai will dictate which way the tie will go on Friday. This Pakistan side has the experience of beating Proteas and it won’t be a shocker if they get back to winning ways.