Time: 1330, 07/06/2017
Pakistan put in a rather shambolic display when hammered by India at the ICC Champions Trophy and it is hard to make a case for them to upset South Africa.
To be fair, Mohammad Amir was unlucky not to claim at least one early wicket as he often beat the bat in a promising opening spell.
However, things went steadily downhill from then on, with India cruising to a total of 319 for two off 48 overs in Birmingham.
A sloppy fielding display was highlighted by two dropped catches in the deep and India were able to adopt a controlled approach as they simply picked off a far too frequent supply of rank bad balls.
Pakistan’s target was reduced to 289 from 41 overs as the English weather again played its part in this tournament, but they never threatened to challenge.
Azhar Ali’s half-century aside, there were few encouraging signs as the underdogs were skittled for 164.
Looking at the Pakistan vs South Africa odds, it is hard to oppose the favourites even at 3/10.
India do have an impressive bowling line-up, but the same can be said of South Africa, who began their Group B campaign with an emphatic defeat of Sri Lanka at The Oval.
Hashim Amla’s century helped the Proteas to post 299 for six, with Faf du Plessis also on song as he hit 75.
Both of those innings went along at a steady pace, though, and there was a feeling that the target was a solid one, but not too daunting.
However, South Africa can boast the top two bowlers in the ODI rankings and, although Kagiso Rabada failed to sparkle, Imran Tahir did the business when taking four for 27.
In stark contrast to Pakistan, the Proteas were outstanding in the field as two direct hits resulted in run outs and AB de Villiers took a superb catch to help dismiss Sri Lanka for 203.
“I was very happy with the way we fielded,” said the captain. “We worked really hard at that part of our game and are very happy with the way it went.”
South Africa’s professionalism should again prove too much for Pakistan, who have had paceman Wahab Riaz ruled out for the rest of the tournament with an ankle injury.
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