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Pakistan are on an all-time low morally after losing their fifth world cup contest to Afghanistan on Monday night. Babar Azam and his men were visibly extremely low as this was the first time Afghanistan beat them in an ODI in any tournament or series.
This rubs salt in their wounds that were not even healed yet after losing a contest from a winning position to Australia the other day. They’ve now lost 3 matches and won twice in their five games in the mega event so far.
On the other hand, South Africa have just slipped once throughout the tournament which was their loss to the Netherlands. Apart from one loss, they have steam-rolled any team that they’ve faced so far, including England, Australia and Sri Lanka.
SA are third in the points table with six points, whereas Pakistan are fifth.
Pakistan vs South Africa: Head-to-head Record
In the five 50-over ODIs played between Pakistan and South Africa in the world cups, Pakistan has emerged victorious in two matches, while South Africa has claimed three wins. Overall, the Proteas have won 51 while Pakistan has 30 wins in their 82 encounters altogether.
The pitch at M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai typically offers a challenging but rewarding experience. It may offer a little support to the pacers initially, but then a settled batsman will not find it difficult once the ball turns old..
It's known for its spin-friendly nature, which makes it a favored ground for spinners. The pitch in Chennai traditionally favors batsmen, offering even bounce and a true surface. This enables batsmen to play their shots with confidence and precision.
Spinners often thrive at this venue due to the pitch's tendency to provide grip and turn.
As the match progresses, the surface tends to wear, creating conditions that favour spin bowling. Spinners can extract substantial turn and generate uneven bounce, making them critical in the middle overs.
Pakistan vs South Africa: Possible Game Changers
Here are some outstanding players we should watch carefully.
Babar Azam's role in the ODI World Cup for Pakistan is multifaceted. As the team's star batter and captain, he shoulders the responsibility of anchoring the innings, providing stability, and leading by example. He is both the best batsman and the team's captain.
With two half centuries in the tournament, he is in decent form, but everyone knows he is yet to reach his prime form.
Being the backbone of the Men in Green, Azam is responsible for stabilizing the team's innings, setting an example with his performance, and making important decisions like choosing whether to bat or bowl first.
While some people have criticized his leadership, it's important to remember that being a captain in international cricket is a learning process.
As the World Cup goes on, people will be watching how well Babar Azam performs and leads the team, hoping he can guide Pakistan to success.
Miller is yet to make it big in the world cup despite his teammates thrashing bowlers left, right and center. In the upcoming Pakistan vs South Africa contest, David Miller's role for the South African team is pivotal though.
He is most likely to make hay of what he has learnt from previous world cup encounters and serves as the designated "finisher" in the batting lineup.
Miller is generally tasked with providing a late-innings surge to maximize the team's run total.
Renowned for his adaptability, the hard-hitting batter can play both off the front and back foot, making him a versatile and dependable asset.
His big-hitting prowess, especially in the death overs, is expected to shift the match's momentum in South Africa's favor. Additionally, Miller's exceptional fielding skills and quick reflexes enhance the team's overall performance.
As South Africa prepares for this crucial clash, they will rely on David Miller's experience and ability to make a significant impact in the late stages of the game.
Hasan Ali, a key fast bowler for Pakistan in ODIs, is usually known for reaping early wickets with the new ball. He's known for his accuracy and the ability to make the ball swing, especially outwards, causing batsmen to make mistakes.
Despite recovering from injuries, Hasan remains resilient and unfazed by criticism, making him an important asset to Pakistan's bowling attack. His performances in the ODI World Cup and beyond can significantly influence Pakistan's success in matches.
With 198 runs in four matches, and a spectacular century against defending champions England in the last contest, Klaasen is warming up for the semi-finals already.
He was smacking a fast-bowler of Mark Wood’s caliber for fun and smoked the right-arm pacer for back-to-back boundaries at one stage of the game.
Klaasen was a royalty for the Proteas in T20Is, but this world cup he has proven his worth in 50-over games as well.
His attacking style of play will hurt Pakistan’s defensive mindset if he lingers a little longer in the late overs. Hence, Klaasen is a strong candidate to be the player of the match.
Pakistan vs South Africa Match prediction
To determine the team with the better chance of winning, it's essential to consider the current form of the teams, the playing conditions on the day of the match, the team compositions, and the strategies employed.
Both Pakistan and South Africa have strengths and weaknesses, and the outcome of a specific match can swing in favor of either team based on these variables.
The outcome of a cricket match can be influenced by various factors, and past head-to-head records are just one aspect to consider.
South Africa has a slight advantage with three wins to Pakistan's two in their five 50-over ODIs. Not just their head-to-head record, but their current form speaks volumes of their chances of winning.
Babar Azam has seemingly exerted external criticism and that was very visible in the post-match conference in the last Afghanistan game. On the flip side, the SA have regained their footings with a win over England.
Hence, the Proteas should not have a tough outing against Babar’s unit and easily beat them on Friday.