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Champions Trophy: Can depleted Proteas beat Pakistan?

Last updated on: June 9, 2013 16:02 IST

Champions Trophy: Can depleted Proteas beat Pakistan?

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After suffering defeats in their respective tournament-openers, Pakistan and South Africa would be fighting to stay alive in the ICC Champions Trophy when they face-off in their second group B match in Birmingham on Monday.

While Pakistan lost their opening match to the West Indies in a low-scoring cliffhanger, South Africa were beaten by India by 26 runs.

Going into the match, the South African squad looks more vulnerable, given the challenge of playing Pakistan without two of their main strike bowlers. Morne Morkel has returned home due to injury, while Dale Steyn remains a "work in progress" on the fitness front.

The update on Steyn is still unclear after the world's No.1 fast bowler was injured during a warm-up match against Pakistan at the Oval last Monday after bowling just five overs. Pakistan went on to win the game by five wickets.



Image: Dale Steyn
Photographs: Lee Warren/Gallo Images/Getty Images

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Newcomer Morris could replace injured Morkel

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"Dale is a work in progress as far as recovery is concerned. We can only get him to start bowling once he is symptom-free," Mohammed Moosajee, South Africa team manager and doctor, explained.

Newcomer Chris Morris is almost certain to make his ODI debut against Pakistan. Morris replaced Morkel, who was forced to return home due to a groin injury against India.

"I've been with this team for two years. Morne has been injured once and Dale has never been injured. Now it's come together. That's a curveball," admitted South Africa coach Gary Kirsten.

Pakistan may not have injury concerns to deal with, but Misbah-ul-Haq still has plenty of worries on his plate.


Image: Chris Morris
Photographs: Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images/Getty Images

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Misbah bogged by Pakistan's batting no show

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Misbah was the lone batsman to put up a semblance of a fight against the West Indies with a 96 not out after coming in at No. 5. He has since pleaded with his batsmen to play with more responsibility and stay on for at least the entire 50 overs.

"...even after losing three wickets (for 15 runs) at one stage, the game was under control, but then we made mistakes. So it's just about taking responsibility and taking the games to the end. The batsmen need to be more responsible and just carry on," said Misbah.

What Pakistan took confidence from was their bowling show which stifled the Windies, who made a hash of the chase before winning by two wickets.

"I think the biggest positive from this game was our bowling. All the seamers bowled really well and bowled their heart out and took wickets. And at one time we were really in the hunt, so it's really a big positive, and it just creates pressure on the opposition," Misbah said.

If Pakistan manage to give their best in batting, they have a good chance of knocking out the 1998 champions.

Teams (from):

South Africa: AB de Villiers (capt), Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien, Jean-Paul Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Colin Ingram, Rory Kleinveldt, Ryan McLaren, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Alviro Petersen, Robin Peterson, Aaron Phangiso, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.

Pakistan: Misbah-ul-Haq (c), Nasir Jamshed, Mohammad Hafeez, Imran Farhat, Kamran Akmal, Shoaib Malik, Asad Shafiq, Saeed Ajmal, Junaid Khan, M. Irfan, Asad Ali, Wahab Riaz, Umer Amin, Abdul Rehman, Ehsan Adil.

Match starts at 5.30 pm (IST).

Image: Misbah ul Haq
Photographs: Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images/Getty Images

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