World Cup: Pakistan, South Africa in quest for points and pride

Both Pakistan and South Africa have underperformed in World Cup 2019; the loss to India in Manchester hurt Sarfaraz Ahmed's side the most.

A lot can change over the course of a week, and the Pakistan cricket team is aware of it.

Following an 89-run defeat to India in Manchester last Sunday, the team has drawn criticism from fans and former cricketers. The flurry of blessings and good wishes that it had received prior to the marquee World Cup fixture has now been replaced by calls for change in leadership and even petitions to disband the team.

Bruised and battered, Pakistan will take on South Africa at Lord’s on Sunday.

With three points from five games, it needs to win all its remaining games to retain any realistic chances of making it to the semifinals.

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After contrasting results in its first two games, Pakistan’s performance – particularly that of its batsmen – has dipped. After a poor batting display against Australia, Pakistan failed in all the three departments against a star-studded India.

With Lord’s hosting its first game of the tournament, Pakistan might replace Shoaib Malik, who has been off-colour, with Harris Sohail.

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South Africa, too, has underperformed and has very little chance to make it to the knockouts.

While its bowlers have troubled the opposition, its batting has been a huge let down. “When you look across the World Cups in the past, when the teams have won, their experienced players have performed. Our experienced players haven’t stood up,” South Africa coach, Ottis Gibson, said after the team’s last outing against New Zealand.

The weather, which has received a lot of attention, is expected to play along – with no rain forecast.